TV networks Nine, Seven, 10 and ABC have complained about fraudulent ads built around their celebrities and brands on social media sites such as Facebook, but as soon as they are taken down others reappear.
Ads have targeted talent including The Project, Sunrise, The Morning Show, Shark Tank, Eddie McGuire, Jessica Rowe, Kylie Gillies and more.
Last night ABC’s Media Watch raised the issue and published the following statements from networks:
Michael Healy, Nine Network, Director of Television, 26 April, 2019:
In recent years, there has been an explosion of fraudulent Facebook ads, built on our celebrities’ trusted brands. We have raised this issue with Facebook multiple times but they to continue to facilitate these scams, taking money and publishing fraudulent ads into newsfeeds of ordinaryAustralians. Enough is enough, it is time for them to take responsibility.
ABC spokesperson, 24 April, 2019:
The ABC is aware of the scam promoted on Facebook using links to fake ABC news stories. ABC Legal has informed Facebook of the advertisements and requested they be taken down. The ABC posted a statement on its corporate site on 10 April (https://about.abc.net.au/statements/alert-to-fakenews-articles/) warning of the scam and has also posted a link to the statement on its ABC NEWS Facebook page. Unfortunately, as soon as one fake news article or one Facebook advertisement is deleted, a new one is created. Facebook is aware of this situation.
Network Ten spokesperson, 24 April, 2019:
Network 10 is aware of various online ads promoting fake Project interviews allegedly endorsing bitcoin trading platforms. The content is completely false and misleading. These interviews never took place on The Project or anywhere else. If you encounter these ads, or any scam, please report them to the following agencies:
– Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN)
– Scamwatch (phone 1300 795 995 or visit www.scamwatch.gov.au)
We’ve alerted the platforms on which the ads have appeared and have posted a warning on The Project’s online site to alert viewers of the scam.
Seven spokesperson, 29 April, 2019:
The nature of Facebook, You Tube and Google’s ‘self-serve’ ad networks allows these damaging adverts to proliferate. Regrettably, these platforms seem very happy to carry such content. A clear case of how they put profit before any social responsibility.
Fundamentally the issue is that we bear the responsibility for identifying this content and when we do, while it gets taken down, it often reappears quickly and then we have to go through the process all over again.
It shows why regulators must hold these platforms to the same standard as established, regulated, brand safe media channels like television, broadcast video on demand (BVOD) and premium publishing environments.
Facebook Australia spokesperson, 24 April, 2019:
We do not allow adverts that are misleading or false on Facebook and we will remove content that is found to violate our Advertising Policies. From July to September 2018, we took down more than 1.2 billion pieces of spam, nearly 100% of which we found and flagged before anyone reported it. We also disabled more than 750 million fake accounts within minutes of registration as we find they’re often the source of these types of scams. This is in addition to the millions of fake account attempts we prevent daily from ever registering with Facebook. However, we will always face malicious people who are intent on misleading others, both online and offline. That’s why we’re investing heavily in technology like machine learning, computer vision and artificial intelligence to help us quickly find more of these types of scams and remove them from our platform.
NB: Google ads will often publish ads based keywords in articles. TV Tonight removes fake ads wherever identified.