Danish celebrities report Meta to police over fraudulent ads

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Two popular Danish public figures have reported Meta, Facebook’s parent company to the police after finding their images and words had been manipulated and misused in thousands of Facebook ads.

Divya Das and Kim Bildsøe Lassen are both hosts on Danish television shows. The journalists, who are married, were first made aware of fraudulent use of their images after friends contacted them.

The ads appear as news articles and often promote fake investment advice, encouraging people to click on links that take them to a fake investment firm where they are encouraged to invest money. 

Das told Euronews, “It’s gotten wilder, wilder and rougher and rougher and more and more transgressive.

“I think the worst thing about it is that Meta doesn’t seem to be doing anything about it. My clear impression is that they can. I’m sure it’s difficult, but it can be done.”

The two presenters are not the only Danish celebrities who have appeared in manipulated Facebook ads. 

Independent Danish fact-checking website Tjeklt says that in the past six years, 49 Danish figures have had their images used in fake advertisements. 

Denmark’s Minister for Digital Government and Gender Equality, Marie Bjerre, has sharply criticised Meta over the issue, telling local Danish TV that the “identity abuse” seen on the platform is “serious and illegal”.

“I would recommend those who are exposed to it to report it to the police, and then I would encourage the tech giants to be responsible adults,” she said.

Bjerre has called for EU legislation to ensure that platforms have a responsibility to report examples of fraudulent ads.

According to Meta’s Transparency Centre, which publishes guidelines on the company’s community standards, “Advertisers can’t run ads that include content debunked by third-party fact-checkers or that violates our Community Standards.”

Meta argues that it is impossible to entirely eliminate misinformation from the Internet, and insists its teams are working to tackle fraudulent advertisements as comprehensively as possible.

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