Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest recently launched legal proceedings against Facebook for allowing scam ads that use his likeness to remain on the platform. And this week, the social media giant filed court documents rejecting his claims, saying that because Forrest has a Facebook account, he has agreed to the company’s terms and conditions. According to the company’s argument, these terms prevent it from being held liable.
Forrest has separate criminal proceedings against Facebook going on in Australia, but in U.S. courts, he is arguing that the company is much more than the simple social media platform it is claiming to be.
“Facebook is not simply providing neutral tools for bad actors to carry out fraudulent schemes. Instead, Facebook is utilizing its sophisticated method of collecting data, and then using that data to engage its users for longer periods of time with information, advertisements, and other material, irrespective of what that content is,” Forrest’s court filing says. “Facebook is directly involved with developing and enforcing a system that subjects its users to illegal content.”
In the past, Facebook has been able to avoid consequences for similar scams. However, the political tides are turning against the company, and many lawmakers are looking for reasons to crack down. In other words, even though Facebook has a solid track record of defeating this kind of litigation, the outcome this time around is far from guaranteed.
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