Nine pans Facebook over inability to remove scam ads

Facebook ads purporting to be for Nine’s The Sydney Morning Herald have surfaced over the holiday period.

The ads masqueraded as articles from the masthead about an iPhone giveaway following a warehouse fire.

An example of one of the fake SMH ads 

A Nine spokesperson told Mumbrella the media outlet “consistently” confronts this issue.

“We consistently report fake ads on Facebook that misuse our news brands or on-air talent,” the spokesperson said.

Despite the consistent reporting, Nine noted its limited success so far.

“So far we have had only very limited success in getting the platform to crackdown on these scams.”

A Facebook spokesperson told Nine’s The Sydney Morning Herald that these scams are not allowed on its platform, and were removed when it became aware of them.

“In this instance, we’ve removed several pages and associated ad accounts from our platform for violating our policies,” Facebook said.

Social media giants, including Facebook, were subject to an inquiry by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) this year.

In its response to the investigation, the government recently proposed establishing a special unit inside the ACCC to monitor and report on the state of competition and consumer protection in digital platform markets and undertake enforcement where necessary. This would encompass consumers who have been duped by scams on Facebook.

The ACCC’s chair, Rod Sims, said Australia will be one of the first countries in the world to develop a comprehensive roadmap for broad reforms relating to digital platforms.

The power of Google and Facebook is under scrutiny from media outlets

“Google and Facebook have grown to have almost unfettered market power with significant impacts on consumers that must be addressed,” he added.

The digital giants were also in News Corp’s firing line today, with an editorial in The Australian saying they must come to the table in good faith, and should not try to water down their responsibilities by using “divide and conquer tactics” on Australia’s publishers.

“A code [of conduct] is crucial for the future of publishers; the giants are unavoidable trading partners, given their algorithms choose us and their business is based on getting between us and our subscribers,” the editorial said.

It continued: “As the ACCC’s probe into their monopolistic behaviour showed, Google and Facebook need to act ethically and fairly and pay the creators of the content from which they make stupendous profits. The coming months will show just how serious the digital giants are about reducing the harm they cause and in promoting community welfare.”


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