Facebook launches anti-scam programme in UK

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Facebook has launched a new tool for its UK-based users to report fake adverts and scams.

The programme has been launched as a result of the lawsuit by Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert. Martin sued Facebook for continuously publishing fake adverts bearing his name and photo.

When Martin Lewis began court proceedings in April 2018, he believed that there were over 50 fake ads in his name. As Facebook gave evidence, it transpired that there had been thousands. The ads were often scams which relied on Martin’s reputation for trustworthy personal finance advice. As a result, many people lost money and Martin’s reputation was tarnished.

In May last year, Martin said: “It’s time Facebook was made to take responsibility. It claims to be a platform, not a publisher – yet this isn’t just a post on a web forum, it is being paid to publish, promulgate and promote what are often fraudulent enterprises.”

One year on, Martin Lewis agreed to drop the charges in return for a £3m donation by Facebook to set up an anti-scam programme. The donation went to Citizens Advice to build a new service focused on internet scams.

Citizens Advice has set up a helpline and will offer face-to-face consultations in serious cases. The charity expects to help 20,000 fraud victims in the first year of the programme.

Facebook’s anti-scam tool means that users in the UK will be able to click on suspicious ads and choose to send a scam report. The tool is unique to the UK and will not be available to Facebook users elsewhere.

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