Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest launches criminal proceedings against Facebook over false cryptocurrency advertisements

Australian billionaire mining magnate Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest has launched criminal proceedings against social media giant Facebook, alleging the company has breached Australia’s money laundering laws by failing to prevent false cryptocurrency advertisements.

In the proceedings lodged in the Western Australia Magistrates Court, Mr Forrest alleges the company repeatedly failed to take down posts by scammers that use his image to promote cryptocurrency investments, which have appeared on the website since March 2019.

He claims that Facebook was “criminally reckless” by failing to take down the false advertisements on the platform, and that the company breached Australia’s money-laundering laws by not doing enough to stop the scams.

Mr Forrest also alleges that Facebook — which has since rebranded to Meta — “failed to create controls or a corporate culture to prevent its systems being used to commit crime”.

The criminal proceedings come after Mr Forrest requested Facebook prevent his image being used to promote cryptocurrency schemes, including in an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in November 2019.

In a statement, Mr Forrest said he was launching the “world-first” action on behalf of “everyday Australians” to protect their savings from being “swindled away by scammers”.

“I’m concerned about innocent Australians being scammed through clickbait advertising on social media,” he said.

Andrew Forrest says he is launching the criminal proceedings on behalf of “everyday Australians”.(ABC News: James Carmody)

Mr Forrest said he wanted people from around the world protected against similar schemes.

“I want social media companies to use much more of their vast resources and billions of dollars in annual revenue to protect vulnerable people — the people who are targeted and fall victim to these horrible scams with their hard-earned savings,” he said.