Several Dutch celebrities are taking Google to court on Tuesday for allowing their faces to be used in fraudulent ads for crypto currencies.
TV presenter Jort Kelder, comedian Arjen Lubach and internet entrepreneur Alexander Klöpping want Google to take action against advertisers who use their faces and make sure the ads do not appear online.
‘We want to prevent Google from allowing these type of ads. They need to filter them but they don’t want to,’ Kelder told the AD. ‘Google has flown in an entire legal team. If they lose, their earnings model will have been torpedoed.’
A number of people who fell for the fake ads will also be in court. ‘The victims should also be compensated,’ Kelder told the paper. ‘Their damages run into millions of euros. I think that an advertising company should take responsibility.’
Kelder and Klöpping’s legal battle against the American tech giant started in 2019 when Klöpping’s face showed up in a fake bitcoin ad. ‘I teased him about it but then it was my turn,’ Kelder told the paper. ‘Somehow my picture was used endlessly and people started to call me names or said ‘Hey Kelder, got yourself some bitcoin?’.
Victims of the scam end up in a boiler room and are manipulated into parting with more and more money until they have nothing left, he said.
Kelder and his fellow claimants are asking the judge to back their demand that Google no longer allow anonymous fake accounts. ‘Google says it filters out 80% of bad ads. But that still leaves 20% and that represent millions in turnover,’ Kelder said.
In 2020 media mogul John de Mol settled with Facebook over fraudulent bitcoin ads in which he figured.
Kelder is taking Twitter to court over similar charges. That case will be heard on March 18.
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