Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert, has announced he is launching a legal battle in the High Court against social media giant Facebook.
Mr Lewis claims Facebook have been allowing scammers to use his reputation and image to con vulnerable people out of thousands of pounds by using the site’s advertising facilities to pose as him.
In court papers, lodged yesterday, Mr Lewis claims Facebook has allowed the publication over 50 fake posts using his name in the past year which have been set up and used to scam people out of money.
Over that time he has taken action to try and raise awareness and have the posts blocked from being published; he made announcements across his profiles on a number of social media platforms, but people were still caught out by the scams, some losing hundreds of thousands of pounds.
In his statement Mr Lewis commented:
“I don’t do adverts. I’ve told Facebook that. Yet it simply continues to repeatedly publish these adverts and then relies on me to report them, once the damage has been done.”
The bad news just keeps on coming for Facebook who are already experiencing scrutiny for the way in which they handle and share user’s data.
Previously many people would have expected a company as big as Facebook to be above the law on such matters but recent events would prove otherwise.
In this particular case, Mr Lewis has admitted that he doesn’t know whether the legal action will be successful or how long it will take but he is hoping that the defamation lawsuit and the media attention it is attracting will force Facebook to take action in tackling scam adverts.
The lawsuit itself is seeking exemplary damages which is where they will ask the court to consider substantial damages to ensure that Facebook simply cannot “carry on regardless.”
Media personalities, business people and sports people rely on their reputations within the industry and amongst the public to ensure continued success but sometimes media attention can be detrimental to their reputation, particularly when an inaccurate or slanderous story is published.
Defamation claims can be fairly straightforward when the source of the article can be determined and a retraction or apology is issued. In Martin Lewis’ case, it is not the scammers themselves he is making the claim against but the enablers; Facebook has supposedly allowed these posts to be published.
As the use of social media has become part of modern day life, so too has the occurrence of defamation with some users feeling as though they are protected from legal action by remaining anonymous or semi-anonymous behind a social media profile. This is not the case however, as any defamatory comments made through social media can mean the commenter will be libel.
Farleys Solicitors have represented high profile individuals in cases of defamation and reputation management. We have launched successful defamation lawsuits against a number of national newspapers and television broadcasters. If you have been subject to a defamatory article or social media post, don’t delay in taking action. Call 0845 287 0939 or contact us through our online enquiry form.