Qatari billionaire Wissam Al Mana is suing Facebook over a series of fraudulent advertisements using his likeness to promote crypto scams in the Middle East.
According to a report by The Times on Feb. 23, Al Mana is claiming defamation, malicious falsehood and false advertising by an unnamed cryptocurrency firm using Facebook to promote their products.
Al Mana, who is also ex-husband to celebrity superstar Janet Jackson, filed the defamation suit with the High Court in Dublin, the site of Facebook’s European headquarters. The report claims the legal framework of Ireland makes the case more amenable for plaintiffs compared to the United States.
Paul Tweed, a defamation lawyer based out of Belfast, said Facebook has been attempting to “hide” behind the U.S.’s first amendment protecting freedom of speech in suits regarding user reputation. Tweed, who has represented multiple clients including Justin Timberlake and Jennifer Lopez in defamation actions, said suits stand a greater chance of success in Europe.
Al Mana, who has an estimated net worth over €1 billion, clarified on his personal website that he has no social media accounts and that users should be wary of profiles and advertisements using his likeness to promote cryptocurrency and financial products.
Scammers taking advantage of fake celebrity endorsements on social media are nothing new. Various celebrities have seen scammers use their pictures on social media to promote fraudulent cryptocurrency investment schemes to defraud people – these celebrities include Tesla CEO Elon Musk, actress Kate Winslet, and entrepreneur Martin Lewis.
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