Gina Rinehart is not only Australia’s richest person, she’s upset at the lack of attention Facebook’s parent company Meta is placing on the scams that are prevalent across the platform.
Rinehart has written directly to the Facebook founder and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg calling for action.
In her letter, obtained by 9News.com.au, Rinehart says “I write to you on behalf of our private companies and myself, though we are far from the only Australians concerned with the increasing prevalence of scams and intentionally deceptive content on your platforms.
“Across Meta, numerous scammers have falsely used the names of prominent Australians such as Harry Triguboff, Dick Smith and me, in an effort to fraudulently solicit money from vulnerable people.
“These scams have also deceptively involved the names of high-profile media personalities from Channel 7, Sky, Channel 9, and others, wrongly using them in scams in efforts to scam money from innocent people.
“In the last few weeks, I have had more than 750 scams on Facebook, as opposed to only one on Twitter in the same time period, hence I’d appreciate more efforts taken in attempting to address these issues.”
Rinehart has provided numerous examples of the scams, which include fake voice videos using Channel Nine TV personalities in fake interviews, as well as investment scams and other deceptive practices.
9News.com.au has this morning looked at several of these advertisements on Facebook, one of which has been running since January this year.
The call from Rinehart is clear.
“Despite our staff’s concerted efforts to report such content, there remains an alarming persistence of scams, and new ones increasingly emerge,” she writes.
“As mentioned above, our staff cannot keep up.
“Meta needs to do more.”
Rinehart has timed the letter to Mark Zuckerberg to coincide with the lead-up to Scam Awareness Week, and cites various cases of fraud and the overall problem.
“As Scam Awareness Week approaches, it’s important to note that Australia, like other nations, has witnessed a huge surge in scams and fraudulent content proliferating across your social media platforms,” she wrote.
“According to the National Anti Scams Centre (NASC), Australians reported a record $3.1 billion lost to scams in 2022. This represents an 80 per cent increase from the year before.
“Additionally, the NASC also estimates that approximately 80 per cent of all scams reported include some form of impersonation of a legitimate entity. This has happened using me, hundreds of times, and my staff can’t keep up there are so many.”
Critically, Rinehart also included real examples of Aussies deceived in these scams, and losing tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“In an all-too-common trend, real Australians are losing their hard-earned money, including a widowed pensioner from Queensland who was scammed out of over $150,000 from her retirement savings and superannuation in 2022,” she wrote.
“In another example this year, one Australian lost $40,000. Innocent Australians are falling victim to job scams through Facebook.
“In 2021, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) reported one instance where a consumer lost $650,000 to a celebrity crypto scam on Facebook.”
9News.com.au has reached out to Meta for comment.
Australians are encouraged to report any scam or fraudulent activity they see online, on the platforms themselves and to ScamWatch.