Meta apologises to Wissam Al Mana over fake ads
Renowned international businessman Wissam Al Mana, represented by RDJ on instructions from Schillings, achieved a significant legal settlement with Meta in High Court proceedings initiated in February 2020. The case centred on unauthorized fake ads featuring Mr. Al Mana's image and false endorsements for cryptocurrency, circulating on Facebook.
Wissam Al Mana's legal action aimed to secure an injunction against Meta Platforms Ireland Limited (formerly Facebook Ireland Limited) to prevent future misuse of his image in ads, particularly those linking him to any financial trading products or services. Additionally, the lawsuit pursued damages for defamation, malicious falsehood, data rights infringement, personality rights appropriation, and passing off.
The dispute concluded with a confidential settlement in December 2023 and the reading of an apology to Wissam Al Mana in an open court statement by Meta's senior counsel in Dublin on December 15, 2023. Meta acknowledged the publication of deceitful, harmful ads in 2019 by third parties, without Mr Al Mana's consent, causing significant damage to his reputation, distress, and embarrassment. Meta expressed regret and unreservedly apologized to Mr Al Mana, committing to robust measures to prevent and tackle such incidents in the future. They also recognized Wissam Al Mana's firm stance on never permitting his name or image to be used in adverts.
Meta’s full statement read:
“Wissam Al Mana is a successful Qatari Businessman with an international reputation. Throughout 2019, several false, misleading and defamatory advertisements were published on Facebook by malicious third parties, featuring the image of Mr Wissam Al Mana, without his knowledge or consent. These advertisements contained fabricated statements, which Meta Platforms Ireland Limited understands caused serious harm to Mr Al Mana’s personal and professional reputation, distress, upset and embarrassment.
Mr Al Mana therefore issued proceedings against Meta in Dublin in February 2020.
Meta accepts and regrets that the publication of these fake advertisements by malicious third parties has caused Mr Al Mana reputational harm, distress and embarrassment. Meta apologises sincerely and unreservedly to Mr Al Mana for this.
Mr Al Mana is satisfied that the publication of fake advertisements using his name and image appears to have ceased. As a result of Mr Al Mana bringing these proceedings, Meta has undertaken to Mr Al Mana that it will use robust measures, to tackle such advertisements in the future. Meta acknowledges that Mr Al Mana has confirmed to them that he has never allowed, and has no intention of ever allowing, his name or image to be used in any advertisement”.