Australian mining magnate takes legal action against Facebook over scam ads

Billionaire mining magnate Andrew Forrest is taking legal action against Facebook in Australia after he claims the company failed to remove scam advertisements that used his image.

Facebook was "criminally reckless" because it did not take "sufficient steps to stop criminals from using its social media platform to send scam advertisements to defraud Australian users", Forrest alleged in a statement.

Forrest is the founder of Fortescue Metals Group, one of the world's largest iron ore producers, and Minara Resources — one of Australia's biggest nickel mining companies. His complaints against Facebook go back years: In 2019, he publicly appealed to the company to stop scammers from using his image, and said in his statement Wednesday that he made "many requests" to the company before taking legal action.

The charges were brought in the Magistrates Court of Western Australia under a part of the country's criminal code that deals with money laundering offenses.

Private criminal prosecutions are infrequent in Australia, but are permitted in many jurisdictions under common law if the circumstances allow.