Meta Issues Public Apology to Qatari Billionaire Over Scam Crypto Ads on Facebook

A three-year legal battle concludes with Meta apologizing to Wissam Al Mana for the unauthorized ads that caused reputational damage and distress.

According to a report from the Financial Times, Meta, the American social media conglomerate, has issued a public apology to Qatari billionaire Wissam Al Mana and committed to implementing enhanced protective measures on its platform following an extensive legal dispute.

This apology stems from the wrongful use of Wissam Al Mana’s image in cryptocurrency scam advertisements on Facebook.

Legal Victory for Wissam Al Mana Against Meta

Wissam Al Mana, a prominent Middle Eastern businessman and former spouse of celebrity Janet Jackson, found himself at the center of deceptive crypto scheme promotions in 2019.

These advertisements were designed to lure users in the Middle East into investing in questionable cryptocurrency ventures.

After enduring a three-year legal battle in Dublin courts, Al Mana sought redress for the reputational harm, distress, and embarrassment caused by these unauthorized ads.

Meta acknowledged that “false, misleading, and defamatory advertisements” were published on its platform by malicious third parties who used Al Mana’s image without consent.

The company expressed profound regret over the incident in a statement, saying, “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 Commits to Stricter Ad Controls Following the Incident

The use of well-known individuals in fraudulent cryptocurrency 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 had previously settled a defamation claim in England with Martin Lewis, resulting in a substantial charitable donation and the introduction of new ad-reporting tools.

Despite efforts to regulate and scrutinize advertisements, experts note that scammers often employ false identities to circumvent these checks. The identities associated with the Al Mana ads have remained untraceable, raising concerns about their legitimacy.

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

Wissam Al Mana, a prominent figure in the Gulf’s business community, 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’s outcome was only recently made public.

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