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Facebook’s scam detection service goes live following lawsuit | Science & Tech News



Facebook’s new scam reporting tool goes live today following legal action aimed at forcing it to take online fraud more seriously.

Money saving expert Martin Lewis launched a defamation lawsuit against the social network after a raft of scam ads featuring his picture.

He decided to drop the case in January after the company agreed to donate £3m to Citizens Advice in setting up a new scam advert prevention project.

The charity’s new service will include a telephone helpline for any type of online scam and one-to-one support for victims falling into serious financial hardship because of online cons.

Citizens Advice says it expects to help at least 20,000 in the first year.

Facebook has also introduced a new reporting tool and a specially trained team will investigate alerts raised by the British public, will review reports and take down violating adverts.

Facebook’s northern Europe vice president Steve Hatch said its global security and safety team had been tripled to 30,000 staff and the social network would “continue to invest heavily in removing bad content from our platform”.

Martin Lewis
Martin Lewis dropped his case after Facebook agreed to changes

Welcoming the new measures Mr Lewis said: “The UK faces an epidemic of online scam ads – they’re everywhere.

“Yet disgracefully there’s little effective law or regulation to prevent them, and official enforcement is poor to non-existent, as these criminals are usually based outside of the EU.

“That’s why I sued for defamation, bizarrely the only law I could find to try to make big tech firms understand the damage their negligent behaviour has caused.

“Today should be the start of real improvement. The aim is to tap the power of what I’m dubbing ‘social policing’ to fight these scams.

“Millions of people know a scam when they see it, and millions of others don’t.

“So now, I’d ask all who recognise them to use the new Facebook reporting tool, to help protect those who don’t – which includes many who are vulnerable.

“Facebook’s new dedicated team will then hopefully respond quickly to ditch the scammers.”

As well as counselling those who have suffered at the hands of scammers, the Citizens Advice Scams Action team will carry out prevention work to identify, tackle and raise awareness of online scams in the UK.

“We know online scams affect thousands of people every year,” said Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice.

“We’re pleased the agreement between Martin Lewis and Facebook meant we could set up this dedicated service to give more help to people who have fallen victim to online scams.”

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