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Dead wrong Facebook resolve legal row with Dragon's Den Gavin Duffy over ads claiming he was dead

The ads also stated that the Dragons’ Den TV personality had successfully invested in cryptocurrency

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Gavin Duffy has received assurances from Facebook that it is investing significant resources into combating misleading adverts such as the one that made false claims about him. Photo: Damien Eagers

Gavin Duffy has received assurances from Facebook that it is investing significant resources into combating misleading adverts such as the one that made false claims about him. Photo: Damien Eagers

Gavin Duffy has received assurances from Facebook that it is investing significant resources into combating misleading adverts such as the one that made false claims about him. Photo: Damien Eagers

A LEGAL dispute between Dragons’ Den star Gavin Duffy and Facebook, over advertisements which falsely claimed he was dead and had made a fortune investing in cryptocurrency, has been resolved.

The former presidential election candidate, who runs an executive coaching and communications firm, threatened legal proceedings against the social media giant earlier this year. He requested it desist from taking revenue from advertising that fraudulently used his profile.

Fake advertisements using Mr Duffy’s name and image began to appear on Facebook in 2018.

One contained a picture of Mr Duffy and said: “Tragic day in Ireland, we say farewell to Gavin Duffy.”

Clicking on the post brought the reader to an article which claimed Mr Duffy had successfully invested in Bitcoin. The article attempted to entice readers to invest.

A joint statement issued by the 61-year-old and Facebook Ireland said they had “resolved an issue regarding ads containing misleading and inaccurate statements about Mr Duffy, which were published on Facebook by malicious third parties”.

The statement continued: “For the record, Mr Duffy states, and Facebook Ireland accepts, that he has never traded, speculated or invested in any cryptocurrency, nor has he ever recommended anyone do so.

“It’s important that ads on Facebook are useful to people and not used to promote deceptive behaviour, like using images of public figures to mislead people.”

In a video message, Mr Duffy said Facebook Ireland was putting significant resources towards tackling such adverts.

He said both parties had agreed to work together to address any further misleading and inaccurate advertisements relating to him, in the event they should reappear on the social media platform.

Facebook has faced mounting pressure to take more responsible action when it is used for the publication of false, misleading or malicious material.

RTÉ presenter Miriam O’Callaghan issued proceedings against the organisation in 2019 after advertisements appeared on Facebook and Instagram falsely claiming she had left her job to promote skincare products.

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Ms O’Callaghan secured orders requiring Facebook to provide her with information aimed at identifying those behind the advertisements. Facebook neither consented nor objected to the orders.

The High Court heard the presenter intends to seek damages over the alleged false and malicious adverts. The case is due to return to the court in September.

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