Numerous fake accounts, groups, and pages operated by fraudsters have swamped Facebook and Instagram to mispresent themselves as the official hubs for the social media giant’s upcoming Libra crypto, the Washington Post reported today.
Despite Libra’s expected launch in 2020, a part of the scammers are already selling Facebook’s crypto for a reduced price, taking visitors to fraudulent third-party websites, the news outlet reported.
After the Washington Post alerted the company, Facebook has taken steps and removed a number of the fakes.
“Facebook removes ads and pages that violate our policies when we become aware of them, and we are constantly working to improve detection of scams on our platforms,” Facebook spokeswoman Elka Looks stated.
According to the Washington Post, the fake Facebook and Instagram accounts have hundreds of real or fake followers. The fakes have already started to spread to other social media platforms, such as YouTube or Twitter, which could be a sign that the incident is already falling out of Facebook’s hands.
The news outlet even discovered a sponsored Facebook story-style video using the fake account “Libra wallet,” featuring Mark Zuckerberg that presents Libra as a “safe, easy-to-use,” asset while walking across a stage. The video’s makers stated that it had been distributed exclusively to early Libra investors who could purchase 20 million of the cryptocurrency for a discounted price.
While the origins of the video remain unknown, one of the viewers said that he received the video via the Chinese messaging service WeChat.
One of the fake websites, “buylibracoins.com”, features a sleek design, giving the average user the impression that it is a legit crypto project. Using Facebook’s official Libra marketing materials, the scammers have even included a token sale counter.
According to the fraudulent website, users can use bitcoin, ether, litecoin, and bitcoin cash to purchase Libra. The scammers have even included a referral program, in which the participants can earn up to $1,500 worth of Libra for successful invites.
While the polished design of the website could mislead some, tech-savvy users can easily spot the fraudulent nature of the service.
Even though the counter indicates that the token sale is over in nine days, the website displays that the softcap – placed at 30 million Libra tokens with a 100 million hardcap – can be still reached in 103 days.
Furthermore, the site is riddled with grammar mistakes and typos like “Cryptpcurrency” and “payment mothods”.
In light of the harsh regulatory scrutiny the tech giant is facing in multiple countries, Facebook has managed to get in an even larger mess before Libra’s launch.
How would a social media platform manage a cryptocurrency with a potential to serve over 2 billion users if it can’t even discover and get rid of fake Libra content before it starts spreading on its own service?
The irony is real and others like Senator Mark R. Warner – a top Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee – are on the same page.
“This is another strong indication Facebook should take a very cautious approach to Libra and commit not to launching any product until U.S. regulatory concerns are satisfied,” he stated to the Washington Post.
While the Libra fakes incident got Facebook in an embarrassing situation, it is definitely good news for us, average users as it clearly highlights that the company has to set up its game to eliminate fake content on its social media platform.
As the grip tightens around Facebook’s throats, the firm will be forced to comply with regulatory requirements that could lead to the creation of a safer and more flawless Libra cryptocurrency.