Mark Zuckerberg’s company has been forced to admit they were fooled by a “malicious advertiser” who paid to post fake news articles falsely claiming Sir Paul McCartney had killed himself.
The disgusting posts were shown to users around the world, and shocked fans who tried to find out more by clicking the story were instead directed to a phishing page which falsely claimed their device was infected with a virus. The scam page gave them a free number to ring ‘microsoft technical support’ which in fact went through to a team of scammers.
The ease at which the Social Media titan was fooled into hosting such a blatant scam will raise fears that the company is not doing enough to monitor the content that appears on its platform.
This is not the first time the company has been criticised for failing to deal with dangerous content, including videos posted by terrorist sympathisers, when users flag them up.
The fake story appeared in the usual advertising slots to the side of the Facebook page, with the title “Sir Paul McCartney Suicides” and the malicious link.
The “check-this-news.com” link takes visitors to a page filled with ominous sounding warnings and an 0800 number that connects them to scammers waiting to steal personal information.
A Microsoft spokesperson advised: “That sounds like a scam to me as we would never contact our customers in that way. They are probably using the Microsoft name to lull people into a false sense of security but it definitely has nothing to do with our company.”
Facebook put out a statement, saying: “We take immediate action when we discover advertisers attempting to serve misleading links to people.
“In this case, the advertiser maliciously circumvented our advertising review process. In subsequent reviews we identified the advertiser and disabled their ads and account.”
Facebook announced last January that they would be policing fake news in order to “better identify and rank authentic content.”