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Australian Billionaire Launches World's First Criminal Lawsuit Against Facebook

Australian Billionaire Launches World's First Criminal Lawsuit Against Facebook

Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest is suing the tech company on behalf of 'everyday Australians'.

Stewart Perrie

Stewart Perrie

Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest has launched the 'world's first' criminal lawsuit against Facebook.

The Australian billionaire has accused the tech company of breaching 'anti-money laundering laws'.

He alleges Facebook has failed to stop online criminals from using fake adverts featuring his face to scam hundreds of thousands of dollars from 'everyday Australians'.

The adverts promise users could get rich quick with cryptocurrency and Twiggy says Aussies are being duped into clicking on them because his face is attached.

These promotions are already banned on Facebook, however the Sydney Morning Herald says they still manage to slip through the cracks.


A spokesperson for Meta, Facebook's parent company, told the newspaper: "We take a multifaceted approach to stop these ads, we work not just to detect and reject the ads themselves but also block advertisers from our services and, in some cases, take court action to enforce our policies.

"We're committed to keeping these people off our platform."

According to The West, Mr Forrest's lawsuit, which will proceed in the Magistrates Court of WA, will be the 'first case where Facebook has faced criminal charges globally'.

He claims these scam adverts have been appearing since 2019 and believes Facebook has been 'criminally reckless' for not cracking down harder on them.

In a statement, he said he's doing this on behalf of regular Aussies.

"I'm doing this because I'm concerned about innocent Australians being scammed through clickbait advertising on social media," he said (via The West).

Peter Kovalev/TASS/Alamy Live News

"I'm committed to ensuring that social media operators don't allow their sites to be used by criminal syndicates.

"This action is being taken on behalf of those everyday Australians...who work all their lives to gather their savings and to ensure those savings aren't swindled away by scammers.

"I'm acting here for Australians, but this is happening all over the world.

"I want social media companies to use much more of their vast resources and billions of dollars in annual revenue to protect vulnerable people - the people who are targeted and fall victim to these horrible scams with their hard-earned savings.

"Social media is part of our lives, but it's in the public interest for more to be done to ensure fraud on social media platforms is eliminated or significantly reduced."

A preliminary hearing will kick off on March 28, followed by a committal hearing later in the year.

Featured Image Credit: Ramil Sitdikov/POOL/TASS/Alamy Live News

Topics: Australia