Meta settles with Qatari billionaire over crypto scam ads


Meta settles with Qatari billionaire over crypto scam ads

Prominent Qatari businessman and Janet Jackson’s ex-husband, Wissam al Mana, received a public apology from tech giant Meta as part of a settlement over crypto scam ads that used his likeness.

On Friday, a court in Dublin heard Meta’s lawyers admit to “false, misleading and defamatory” ads that were published on Facebook in 2019, “by malicious third parties” without al Mana’s knowledge or consent.

Details of the settlement, agreed upon by both parties after a three-year battle, remain sealed. However, Meta has agreed to take “robust measures” against crypto scam ads in the future.

As noted by the FT, it’s rare to see such a lengthy and expensive court battle waged against the tech giant. Al Mana is a prominent businessman in Qatar, helping to run his family’s Al-Mana Group — which distributes for well-known car and luxury brands like Hermès.

The 48-year-old was previously married to popstar Janet Jackson. The pair have a son together — an event which granted Jackson an extra $100 million when she filed for divorce shortly after giving birth.

Al Mana said that the case was rigorously pursued because, while Meta took down the ads, there was nothing stopping the culprits from starting new ones. The billionaire’s legal team said that more fake ads appeared in 2019, two years after al Mana first filed complaints. The ads caused reputational harm, distress, and embarrassment, he claimed.

Meta and Google settle near-identical cases of crypto scam ads

“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 said in a statement.

“Meta apologises sincerely and unreservedly to Mr Al Mana for this.”

On Thursday, al Mana’s lawyers sought an order that would require Meta to share identifying information about the buyers of these crypto scam ads. Their IP addresses, names, place of residence, and more would be handed over.

Google must tell Irish politician names behind crypto scam ads

Tech giant Google was forced to hand over similar information to top Irish politician Michael Martin on Thursday. He too sued over crypto scam ads that used his image without permission.

According to Martin, “every citizen should be entitled to request and receive information relating to bad actors behind these schemes.”

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