Japan LDP Considers Calling Meta Executives to Testify in Diet Over False Ads on Facebook

Reuters file photo
People walk behind a Meta Platforms logo during a conference in Mumbai, India, September 20, 2023.

The Liberal Democratic Party’s working group handling the issue of false advertising on social media called for the executives of Meta Platforms Inc. to be summoned to testify in the Diet.

The issue of false advertisements with fake celebrity endorsements on Facebook, which is operated by Meta, was on the agenda at the meeting of the working group held Thursday in Tokyo.

“We would like to ask for consideration with a view to summoning [Meta executives] as unsworn witnesses to the Diet,” said the group’s head Takuya Hirai, the chairperson of the LDP Headquarters for the Promotion of a Digital Society.

Hirai said that people would not be able to use social media with a sense of security if the platform providers, who are supposed to take responsibility, maintain the current situation. The working group is considering the establishment of laws and regulations to address the issue, he said.

There are a number of people who have been victims of fraud after being led to the messaging app Line through false advertisements using the names and images of prominent figures.

A senior executive of LY Corp., which operates Line, also attended the meeting. He explained that the company is working to prevent damage by repeatedly displaying warnings in the app.

The working group is considering interviewing other platform providers in the future, including X, formerly Twitter, and TikTok.

Meta sued over fake ads

KOBE — Four people have sued the Japanese arm of Meta for failing to act despite numerous cases of investment fraud using fake celebrity endorsements on Facebook and Instagram.

The plaintiffs from Kobe and elsewhere filed the lawsuit with the Kobe District Court on Thursday, seeking a total of about ¥23 million in damage compensation.

This is likely to be the first lawsuit in the nation seeking damages from a social media operator for posting fraudulent advertisements.

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs transferred money several times to a designated bank account after viewing fake advertisements on Facebook and other social media sites soliciting investments using celebrities, including businessman Yusaku Maezawa, and communicating with people claiming to be the assistants of such celebrities.

The plaintiffs alleged that the Japanese arm neglected its duty to refrain from publishing the false advertisements when it could foresee that the content of the advertisements was questionable and could cause harm to users.

The firm commented that it would not respond to individual cases.