To many Brits, Martin Lewis’s financial advice is as highly respected as Jeremy Clarkson’s opinion on the latest hot hatchback, or Mark Kermode’s perspective on this week’s Hollywood blockbuster. So, when Lewis announced he was suing Facebook over Bitcoin scams using his image, public sympathy was on his side. But can he really defeat the social media colossus?
The UK loves Martin Lewis. The multi-millionaire creator and now executive CEO of MoneySavingExpert.com, whom he sold for £87 million in 2012 to MoneySupermarket.com, is one of the best known faces on UK TV when it comes to financial advice. But while Lewis’ expertise means that he often appears on Sky News giving his opinion on the latest stories pertaining to banks and corporations, he is just as likely to be seen advising desperate and distraught housewives with their own money issues on ITV’s This Morning program.
It’s not unusual to see Lewis placate sobbing, possibly suicidal callers who have dug themselves into a financial pit, simply by finding achievable solution to their nightmare, which he always does. Callers and viewers can spot a fake a mile away, and Lewis is no fake – he genuinely cares for these people.
Martin Lewis Targets Facebook
It is that common touch and genuine concern for working class people who are often unscrupulously targeted by everything from credit card companies to “payday loan” websites like Wonga. But while these companies are at last legitimate, what has gotten Lewis particularly riled is the recent spate of horror stories relating to fake and highly fraudulent fake-Bitcoin investment scheme adds that have appeared on Facebook. Lewis is furious with the social media giant, and says they should have done more to prevent such adds appearing on their platform. To add insult to injury, Lewis’s own image has been used on the advertising of at least one of these fake-Bitcoin schemes.
In April, Lewis brought out a lawsuit against Facebook for allowing these scam adverts to run across its platform, without FB performing any type of background check on the so-called ”companies” involved.
Lewis Ready For Battle
Lewis claims he has been recently contacted by many elderly people who have lost their entire life savings to these fake-Bitcoin schemes, and some of these people are becoming suicidal. Should Lewis win his case, he has stated that he will distribute any court settlement among the victims of the Bitcoin investment scheme ads.
Here’s what Lewis himself has said:
“The impact on peoples mental health of losing their retirement funds, or losing their children’s, children’s money that they thought they were investing is catastrophic and life-destructive. People who say, ‘I’ve lost all my retirement funds, I don’t know how to live, I don’t know how to go on.’ People [are] crying their eyes out. From my perspective, these people say, ‘I only did this because I trusted Martin Lewis.’ You can see how I feel about it.”
Martin Lewis is seeking millions of pounds in damages from Facebook to compensate victims. He also wants an apology and demands that Facebook “manifest substantial change” in the methods by which the social media company handles paid advertising. Lewis has previously asked Facebook to hire specialized professionals that could monitor and report false advertising in real-time, particularly the ones that misuse the names of public figures to dupe people.
Watch this space for further updates.