Consumer finance expert Martin Lewis is to sue social media site Facebook over alleged scam adverts.
Lewis, founder of consumer site Money Saving Expert, is bringing a defamation claim for exemplary damages against Facebook and said that any money he wins will be donated to anti-scam charities.
He claims that Facebook has published over 50 fake adverts using his name and image in the past year, which could have be seen by millions of people in the UK.
Lewis said that many of the adverts are scams, often for binary trading firms based outside the EU.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) warned that UK investors lost £87,410 a day to binary trading scams last year.
Lewis said: “Enough is enough. Ive been fighting for over a year to stop Facebook letting scammers use my name and face to rip off vulnerable people – yet it continues. I feel sick each time I hear of another victim being conned because of trust they wrongly thought they were placing in me. One lady had over £100,000 taken from her.”
Lewis is being advised by defamation lawyer Mark Lewis, a partner at law firm Seddons.
Mark Lewis recently advised food writer and activist Jack Monroe on her successful libel case against former Daily Mail columnist Katie Hopkins.
He said: “Facebook is not above the law – it cannot hide outside the UK and think that it is untouchable. Exemplary damages are being sought. This means we will ask the court to ensure they are substantial enough that Facebook cant simply see paying out damages as just the cost of business and carry on regardless. It needs to be shown that the price of causing misery is very high.”
Martin Lewis added: "Its time Facebook was made to take responsibility. It claims to be a platform not a publisher – yet this isnt just a post on a web forum, it is being paid to publish, promulgate and promote what are often fraudulent enterprises. My hope is this lawsuit will force it to change its system. Nothing else has worked. People need protection.
“And of course, on a personal note, as well as the huge amount of time, stress and effort it takes to continually combat these scams, this whole episode has been extremely depressing – to see my reputation besmirched by such a big company, out of an unending greed to keep raking in its ad cash.”
A Facebook spokesperson said: “We do not allow adverts which are misleading or false on Facebook and have explained to Martin Lewis that he should report any adverts that infringe his rights and they will be removed. We are in direct contact with his team, offering to help and promptly investigating their requests, and only last week confirmed that several adverts and accounts that violated our advertising policies had been taken down.”