SOCIAL-MEDIA giant Facebook has been found profiting from fake ads and scams by con artists just weeks before it is due to give evidence to Parliament’s fake-news inquiry.
Currently, anyone with a Facebook page and a credit card can pay to promote a post in people’s news feeds and to target specific individuals, based on users’ activity.
Facebook’s guidelines state that adverts must not be “deceptive, false or misleading,” but users have continued to report scams promoted in their news feeds.
One user reported seeing an advert which claimed to be a step-by-step guide to earning Bitcoin; it encouraged visitors to hand over the password to their cryptocurrency wallets.
Another, appearing to originate from London, was reported to be using a doctored video of an e-sports star and claiming a “Bitcoin hack will blow your mind” to lure users into clicking a link before directing visitors to an online shopping site.
The Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee is conducting the inquiry. Chairman Damian Collins said: “Fake adverts displayed on social-media platforms are a real problem and one that the social-media companies must tackle.
“It is wrong that social-media companies such as Facebook are profiting from phishing scams and fake adverts that are harmful to their platform’s users.”
Facebook relies on users to report posts that may be false, malicious or distasteful but has come under growing pressure, along with Twitter and Google, to review how paid adverts are bought and promoted. Facebook said it is investigating the adverts.
Advertising executives were due to give evidence to the inquiry later today.
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