Facebook parent company Meta pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to criminal charges as the social giant fights allegations that it recklessly facilitated clickbait crypto scam advertisements impersonating mining billionaire Andrew Forrest.
As reported by The Guardian, Meta’s plea was heard in Armadale Magistrates Court after it was charged with three counts of recklessly handling proceeds worth $1,000 or more that arose from the crypto scam ads.
Forrest launched the lawsuit against Meta in February last year, claiming that the company had failed to act on the ads after repeated requests to take them down. He also accused Meta of breaching anti-money laundering laws.
During the proceedings, Forrest and Meta’s lawyers have been in dispute over the exposure of a series of documents, which Forrest will now have to hand over. However, Meta has been barred from using the received documents in similar cases.
Social media giants in court over crypto scam ads
Meta recently settled a lawsuit with Qatari billionaire Wissam al Mana, admitting to the publication of “false, misleading, and defamatory” crypto ads on Facebook in 2019 that used the billionaire’s likeness.
A civil lawsuit involving crypto scam ads published by Google and top Irish politician, Tánaiste Mícheál Martin, has also been underway in Ireland. The ads again used the likeness of someone prominent to trick viewers into a crypto scam. This case has led to Google essentially giving up the details of the crypto ad scammers if Martin requests it.
In addition, Forrest also sued Facebook in California in 2021. His current case in Australia will return to court on February 9.