While Facebook is struggling to agree on its crypto project Libra, a wave of fake Libra accounts have come up online, including on Facebook itself.
According to a report by The Washington Post on July 22, nearly a dozen fake Libra pages have circulated across Facebook and its social photo-sharing app Instagram, posing as official entities for the much-discussed digital currency.
Facebook removed Libra scam pages only after alerted by Washington Post
As said in the report, a number of those fake Facebook and Instagram accounts were removed on July 22 only after The Washington Post reported on them to Facebook. Elka Looks, communications manager at Calibra, reportedly stated that Facebook removes ads and pages that violate their policies when they become aware of them.
Some of the fake Libra ads offered to participate in a pre-sale of not-yet-launched Libra coins at a discount, while many others included Facebook’s logo, photos of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg or Libra’s official marketing materials, the report notes.
One clear example of Libra fakes online is Buylibracoins.com website, which copies Libra’s logo from official website Libra.org, and offers users to create an account and invest in Libra with major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC). While the website’s Instagram page has been allegedly removed, the website remains available at press time.
Fake Libra website Buylibracoins.com
Fake ads undermine trust in Facebook and Libra
Eswar Prasad, an economics professor at Cornell University, pointed out a deep irony in that Facebook itself is used as the platform that could undermine trust in its cryptocurrency project. Outlining trust problem as the major obstacle of Facebook on its path to introducing the global cryptocurrency, Prasad said in the report:
“Facebook has an enormous worldwide network and enormous financial muscle . . . But the only way Libra will work well as a medium of exchange is if everyone can trust it. And that’s the big question right now: whether there is going to be enough trust in Facebook.”
Facebook eased crypto ads rules one month before Libra white paper
In early 2018, Facebook banned cryptocurrency and initial coin offerings-related ads on its platform in a move to prohibit advertising that use “misleading or deceptive promotional practices.”
However, the social media giant eased the restrictions in May 2019, around one month before releasing the white paper for its own cryptocurrency project Libra on June 18.
Meanwhile, Damian Collins, a senior official at the British Parliament has recently argued that Libra will be open to massive fraud as t would be created and controlled by Facebook and be inaccessible by anyone outside a “Facebook walled garden.”