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Meta Locked in Australian Legal Drama Over Crypto Ads Featuring Billionaire

2 mins
Updated by Michael Washburn
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In Brief

  • Meta, the parent company of Facebook, is in the midst of a sordid legal drama over crypto ads that Facebook hosted.
  • Andrew Forrest, an immensely wealthy Australian, has pursued criminal charges over the use of his likeness in the ads.
  • For its part, Meta has gone after Forrest with a summons asking that he hand over highly sensitive personal documents.
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As millions of people follow developments in a New York courtroom where the founder of fallen crypto exchange FTX stands trial, another legal drama involving crypto-related ads plays out on the other side of the world.

Mining mogul Andrew Forrest is behind efforts to prosecute Meta, the parent company of Facebook, which hosted crypto ads featuring him without his permission three years ago. Meta’s response to the criminal charges has, in the view of some, crossed legal and ethical lines.

According to a report in The Guardian, Forrest feels strongly that Meta did not do enough to remove crypto ads that made illegitimate use of his likeness as a promotional gimmick. Forrest, who says he made repeated requested for Meta to take down the ads back in 2019, was one of a number of Australians featured.

In Forrest’s view, and that of his lawyers, Meta’s failure here is no mere civil matter. It is so serious that criminal charges are in order, The Guardian said.

As Meta’s own legal team scrambles to respond to the highly serious charges, it has taken a dramatic step. Issuing a summons to Forrest that demands he hand over documents for Meta’s lawyers to review.

The documents in question reportedly include highly sensitive data and records. Including personal emails written by Forrest. And communications regarding how to finance the cross-border lawsuit against Silicon Valley-based Meta.

Last year, Meta lawyers acknowledged that a court in Western Australia had legal jurisdiction over the matter.

Meta FUD on the Rise at Critical Moment

As Meta aggressively seeks to expand in AI and the Metaverse, legal trouble follows the company like a shadow. The Metaverse, in particular, has come in for criticism for hosting a non-taxable shadow economy, as BeInCrypto reported on September 5.

Learn about the evolving controversy over Metaverse-hosted content and the revenues derived through it.

Mark Zuckerberg has plently to keep him up at night. Just weeks ago, BeInCrypto reported on the filing of a separate lawsuit against Meta. The bone of contention here? Copyright infringement.

Meta allegedly made illegitimate use of authors Sarah Silverman, Richard Kadrey, and Christopher Golden. Taking their work and using it to train LLaMA, an AI tool.

Not only did Meta improperly use their words and ideas, but the funneling of the latter through LLaMA will foster further opportunities for creative expropriation, the authors believe.

As Meta continues to develop AI, such lawsuits are likely to proliferate. Things have come a long way since the days depicted in the 2010 David Fincher film The Social Network. In which a bright and ambitious Harvard undergrad sat around in bars and his dorm room dreaming about the potential of a pet project then called “The Facebook.”


In adherence to the Trust Project guidelines, BeInCrypto is committed to unbiased, transparent reporting. This news article aims to provide accurate, timely information. However, readers are advised to verify facts independently and consult with a professional before making any decisions based on this content.

Michael Washburn
Michael Washburn is a New York-based managing editor who joined BeInCrypto in March 2023. Over his career, he written extensively about the corporate legal world and the intersection of finance and law, has produced thousands of articles and features, and has mentored many reporters and researchers finding their way in a fast-changing industry.