November 11, 2019 / 3:43 PM / a month ago

Dutch court orders Facebook to pull financial fraud adverts

AMSTERDAM, Nov 11 (Reuters) - A Dutch court has ordered Facebook to remove advertisements that misuse the likeness of a local celebrity to promote fraudulent Bitcoin-related investments.

Dutch tycoon John de Mol sued Facebook after he said it had failed to respond to repeated requests to pull advertisements that misused his and other local celebrities’ likeness and led to investors losing $1.7 million euros.

His suit also demanded that company take measures to prevent the issue recurring, and that it hand over information to him on the scammers behind the advertisements.

The court ordered the company to pull the offending ads or face fines of up to 1.1 million euros ($1.2 million).

“Facebook’s arguments that it is just a neutral funnel for information and therefore cannot be obligated to act, is not acceptable,” the court said in a summary judgment.

“The company plays too active a role with respect to advertisements, which form its primary business model to argue that,” it said.

It noted the company sets a pricing policy for ads and also has policies that determine which advertisements are and aren’t published on its properties.

Facebook, which argued in court it had already removed the offending ads, could not immediately be reached on Monday for comment.

$1 = 0.9074 euros Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Mark Potter

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