Seven, Nine, and Ten have criticised Meta in a submission to a Senate inquiry into digital platforms over its slow takedowns of scam ads.
The submission, made by Free TV Australia which represents the broadcasters, was made to an ongoing Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) inquiry launched in March last year.
Free TV said that scam ads featuring the networks’ TV stars without their knowledge or authorisation, as well as the proliferation of fake news on the platform, had caused harm to consumers over the past few years.
Free TV highlighted scam ads on Facebook featuring Nine news reporter Georgie Gardner spruiking an app, a fake account pretending to be former Today Show host Allison Langdon, and scam crypto ads featuring current Today host Karl Stefanovic and Sunrise host David Koch.
The group also said scammers had created fake Seven-branded Facebook pages and told users in the comments sections on Seven’s real Facebook posts, telling them they had won prizes.
Free TV said that Meta’s takedown process remained “inadequate” adding that “fake ads continue to quickly reappear after they are taken down. These inadequate takedown processes damage the business reputations of broadcasters and also the personal reputations of the celebrities and media personalities that are misrepresented.
“Notwithstanding the significant consumer harm from these scams, in addition to the reputational harm to Free TV members, the digital platforms are persistently slow in responding to takedown requests.”
The organisation also called for a new social media code specifically targeting scam ads and they should be required to ensure that content published on platforms was not “fake, damaging, misleading or defamatory.”
Meta, meanwhile, maintained that scammers were a problem across all of the internet — not just social media platforms.
“We’re committed to safeguarding the integrity of our services, and dedicate substantial resources and technology solutions to protect our community from fake accounts and other inauthentic behaviour,” said a spokesperson.
In its own submission to the inquiry, the ACCC said the losses from scam ads on social platforms had nearly doubled from a reported $49m in 2020 to $92m in 2021. In the watchdog’s fifth interim report from the digital platforms inquiry, published in November, it recommended that digital platforms should verify advertisers to reduce the risks of scams and put in place a notice-and-action” mechanism requiring platforms to take action whenever a user reports a scam. The sixth interim report is due this week.