- Meta Platforms has been let off the hook of allegations it is responsible for money lost by its users to third-party scam ads posted on its Facebook platform.
- The judge overseeing the case determined Facebook users had not established that Meta had “materially contributed” to the illegality of the scam ads in question.
- Facebook users have been given the option to amend the class action lawsuit.
- Facebook users had claimed in their class action lawsuit that the company had a policy of “actively soliciting, encouraging and assisting scammers.”
- The judge overseeing the case ruled, however, that the users did not claim Meta had directly participated in the purchases they made on the websites they landed on after clicking on the alleged scam ads.
Facebook Scams Class Action Lawsuit Overview:
- Who: A pair of Californians want to represent consumers who have been victims of Facebook scams.
- Why: Facebook has long profited from users’ private information, says the pair’s class action lawsuit, and it is time the tech giant took responsibility and paid users who fall victim to scams on the social media site.
- Where: The class action lawsuit was filed in California federal court.
Facebook scams target millions and a pair of Californians want the tech giant to start paying victims who fall for the deceptive ads, according to a class action lawsuit filed Wednesday.
Lead plaintiffs Christopher Calise and Anastasia Groschen want to represent consumers who have fallen for deceptive ads and Facebook scams. They accuse the social media giant of “actively soliciting, encouraging, and assisting scammers” using Facebook to defraud users and want the company to pay.
Calise and Groschen point out that Facebook collects reams of data from each user — for free.
User information has “enormous financial value,” say the plaintiffs, and Facebook uses the data to target users with ads, including deceptive and misleading ads from scammers.
Facebook Scams Bring Revenue to Social Media Giant
The tech company is well aware that its platform, as well as its Instagram sites are rife with Facebook scams, including bait-and-switch and other schemes intended to defraud users, say the plaintiffs. However, instead of putting a stop to this behavior or even turning a blind eye, Facebook has encouraged scammers to use the site, allege the plaintiffs.
“Facebook actively solicits, encourages, and assists scammers in numerous ways,” states the class action lawsuit.
On the revenue side, the company encourages sales teams to sell Facebook ads to known scammers who repeatedly violate its ad policies, claim the plaintiffs.
Further, Facebook fails to properly police and protect users from scams, allege the plaintiffs. They accuse the company of ignoring hacked accounts, as long as the scammer is paying the tech company for the ad, which is, in reality, a Facebook scam.
Repeated violations of the social media site’s advertising policies by Facebook scammers are ignored as well, claims the class action lawsuit.
“Cracking down on scammers would jeopardize the billions of dollars per year in ad revenue that Facebook collects from scammers,” states the lawsuit.
“Therefore, even as Facebook’s public relations team touts the closing of certain accounts and lawsuits targeting a few scammers, Facebook remains economically motivated to continue soliciting, encouraging, and assisting scammers at the expense of its users.”
The plaintiffs say that a court order forcing the company to take more responsibility for Facebook scams and deceptive advertising is necessary. They want the company to incentivize the protection of users, rather than the sale of ads and also extend the platform’s Purchase Protection program to victims of Facebook scams. They also want the social media giant to disgorge the enormous amount of profit it has made by selling user information to advertisers.
Facebook faces a litany of complaints and legal action concerning the collection of user data and its ad policies. This summer, the tech giant fought a class action lawsuit contending Facebook misrepresented its data privacy practices to get more users and has monopolized the social media market through acquisitions.
Online advertisers have also hit Facebook with a class action lawsuit claiming the company misrepresents the supposed reach of ads on the social media site.
Have you fallen for Facebook scams? We want to hear about it! Tell us what happened in the comment section below.
The plaintiffs are represented by Adam M. Apton, Mark S. Reich, and Courtney E. Maccarone of Levi & Korsinsky, LLP.
The Facebook Scams Class Action Lawsuit is Calise, et al. v. Facebook, Inc., Case No. 3:21-cv-06186 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
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