Japanese entrepreneur sues Meta over fake investment ads featuring him

A Japanese entrepreneur has filed a lawsuit against US IT giant Meta and its Japan unit, seeking damages and a halt to fake investment ads featuring him posted on their platforms. The move comes amid a series of online scams by fraudsters impersonating celebrities.

Maezawa Yusaku made public on Wednesday in his account X, formerly known as Twitter, the lawsuit against Meta and Facebook Japan with the Tokyo District Court.

Maezawa claims that without his permission a large number of fake investment ads using his name and images have been posted on Facebook and Instagram operated by Meta since the spring of last year. He claims that allowing such ads to be posted online infringes on publicity and image rights.

Maezawa says that through a reporting system he set up in March he received 96 consultations regarding damage from fake ads using his name and images.

He is seeking 1 yen, or 0.006 dollar, in damages. In an interview with NHK, he said he wants to confirm the illegality of posting ads that lead to scams as soon as possible by setting the damages at 1 yen and making the focus on the lawsuit clear.

Maezawa said he hopes details of concrete measures from Meta, which he calls a black box, will be made clear by the court.

When contacted by NHK, Meta and Facebook Japan said they refrain from commenting on individual cases.