Dutch millionaire John de Mol, who created the hit reality television program “Big Brother,” is suing Facebook over phony bitcoin ads. He’s now asking the court to issue a ruling on the case.
De Mol Wants the Courts to Intervene
Facebook has been at the center of controversy for several years, starting with its alleged ties to Cambridge Analytica which were discovered in 2018. Facebook had purportedly been selling users’ private data to third parties for advertising purposes. Mark Zuckerberg was grilled intensely by U.S. senate members regarding the allegations and trust in Facebook has fallen to all-time lows.
Ironic that this little scenario would also have to do with advertising. Later, Facebook announced plans to develop Libra, a new global cryptocurrency that it said would be used to power its upcoming payment platform. Libra would be an alleged stable coin, meaning it would be backed by fiat and less vulnerable to the volatility that is often associated with mainstream digital coins like BTC, LTC and ETH.
Libra was met with mixed reactions from both critics and the public alike. On the one hand, some thought it would be interesting to see the introduction of a worldwide payment system that saw everyone using the same money regardless of their status, country or credit history. At the same time, several were turned off by the idea that Facebook, a company with a sketchy history regarding people’s private data, would now have access to confidential financial information.
Eventually, Libra became its own victim of hype and was subjected to false advertising on fake Facebook pages.
De Mol alleges that despite his best efforts, he has been unable to “reach an agreement with Facebook” regarding measures to “stop fake ads.” He ultimately filed his lawsuit against the company last June after his name and image were purportedly used for phony bitcoin advertising. An Amsterdam District Court oversaw the case, but initially decided it was best for Facebook and De Mol to reach an agreement on their own without legal interference.
No Deal, Facebook… No Deal
In a statement, De Mol explains:
After three months of negotiating, it has become clear to me that it is impossible to come to an agreement with Facebook on the misleading bitcoin advertisements. While the company seemed to be cooperating, it was merely smokescreen that concealed its reluctance to put in place the desired measures in a timely and correct manner.
While the ads have ultimately been removed, de Mol says that customers were “swindled” out of nearly $2 million in USD thanks to the advertising. He claims that these ads suggested new crypto exchanges or projects that had garnered financial backing from him, along with several other Dutch celebrities, causing many to invest money and lose out in the end.