Dutch ‘Big Brother’ creator seeks court judgment over fake bitcoin ads on Facebook

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Attendees walk past a Facebook logo during Facebook Inc's F8 developers conference in San Jose
FILE PHOTO: Attendees walk past a Facebook logo during Facebook Inc’s F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, U.S., April 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

September 9, 2019

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Dutch billionaire John de Mol on Monday said he would ask a court to rule in the case he filed against Facebook Inc earlier this year over fake bitcoin ads.

De Mol, the businessman who created the “Big Brother” reality television program, said it had proved to be impossible to reach an agreement with Facebook over measures to stop fake ads.

De Mol had filed a lawsuit against the social network in June for allowing fake ads on its platform which used his name and image to perpetrate bitcoin-related fraud.

The case was heard by the Amsterdam District Court, which at the time said it seemed possible for the two sides to reach an agreement.

“After three months of negotiating it has become clear to me that it is impossible to come to an agreement with Facebook on the misleading bitcoin advertisements”, De Mol said in a statement.

“While the company seemed to be cooperating, it was merely a smokescreen that concealed its reluctance to put in place the desired measures in a timely and correct manner.”

Facebook could not immediately be reached for comment.

The ads, which have been removed, enticed people to send money to purchase bitcoin or participate in fake cryptocurrency-related businesses with claims of De Mol’s involvement, endorsement or backing.

Lawyers for De Mol said that consumers had been swindled out of 1.7 million euros ($1.9 million) by De Mol-linked ads, and that he was one of several Dutch celebrities targeted.

(Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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