Meta Apologizes to Qatari Billionaire Over Scam Crypto Ads on Facebook: Report

According to a Financial Times report, Meta, the American social media conglomerate, has publicly apologized to Qatari billionaire Wissam Al Mana, committing to enhanced protective measures on its platform following a prolonged legal battle.

The apology comes after Al Mana’s image was wrongfully used in cryptocurrency scam advertisements on Facebook.

Wissam Al Mana Wins Legal Battle Against Meta

Wissam Al Mana, a prominent businessman in the Middle East and ex-husband of celebrity Janet Jackson, found himself at the center of deceptive crypto scheme promotions in 2019.

These ads aimed to entice users in the Middle East to invest in dubious cryptocurrency ventures.

After enduring three years of legal proceedings in Dublin courts, Al Mana sought redress for the reputational damage, distress, and embarrassment caused by these unauthorized advertisements.

Meta acknowledged the publication of “false, misleading, and defamatory advertisements” on its platform by malicious third parties using Al Mana’s image without consent.

The company expressed deep regret over the incident in a statement stating: “Meta accepts and regrets that the publication of these fake advertisements by malicious third parties has caused Mr. Al Mana reputational harm, distress, and embarrassment. Meta apologizes sincerely and unreservedly to Mr. Al Mana for this.”

Meta Pledges Tighter Ad Controls Following Incident

The use of high-profile individuals in fraudulent crypto ads has been an ongoing issue on social media platforms. In a similar case, Ireland’s foreign minister Micheál Martin pursued legal action against Google for misusing his name and image in cryptocurrency scams.

Meta itself previously settled a defamation claim in England with Martin Lewis, leading to a significant charitable donation and the implementation of new ad-reporting tools.

Despite efforts to regulate and review advertisements, experts note that scammers often use false identities to bypass these checks. The names associated with the Al Mana ads have remained unresponsive, raising questions about their legitimacy.

Following the Al Mana case, Meta has vowed to adopt “robust measures” to prevent such fraudulent activities. However, details of the settlement, handled by Irish law firm Ronan Daly Jermyn, remain confidential.

Wissam Al Mana, a well-known figure in the Gulf’s business circles, oversees the family-owned Al Mana Group in Qatar and holds exclusive distribution rights for several luxury brands. He initiated legal proceedings against Meta in February 2020, but the case outcome was only recently disclosed.

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