Dutch billionaire takes Facebook to court over fake endorsement in cryptocurrency ads

John de Mol, Dutch billionaire and the creator of Big Brother, has sued Facebook for allowing ads which used his image to promote a fake cryptocurrency-related business, Reuters writes.

The ads, which have since been pulled, claimed de Mol had endorsed the business, using his name and photo. They encouraged people to buy bitcoin and engage with fake platforms. According to de Mol’s lawyers, people were defrauded out of 1.7 million euros ($1.9 million) because of the ad campaign.


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During the hearing, de Mol’s lawyers told an Amsterdam District Court judge Facebook hadn’t done everything it could to prevent the ads and had responded too slowly to the complaints. The billionaire wants Facebook to automatically remove any cryptocurrency-related ads using his image.

Meanwhile, Facebook's lawyer Jens van den Brink argues the company cannot constantly monitor all ads. He also said Facebook is working with the Dutch financial markets regulator AFM to figure out methods to tackle scammers.

About Author

Isabel is The Block's London and European reporter. She previously reported for Reuters in Madrid and London, following on from her time as a freelance journalist for the Guardian and the New York Times. She has a Bachelors in War Studies from King’s College London and a Master of Philosophy from the University of Oxford. Conflict of Interest: Edward Woodford, the CEO of SeedCX, is Isabel's brother. She does not report on any issues related to Seed or advise other authors in any regard.