Ben Fogle hits out at Facebook owner Meta after his name is used in online charity scam

  • Ben Fogle was alerted to the problem by We Care, a Sri Lankan dog charity
  • Fogle doesn’t use Facebook but has an account set up to deter impostors
  • Meta had been historically slow in taking down fake accounts on its platform
  • Fogle had to call the police instead or hire a private investigator for fake pages

Ben Fogle has hit out at Facebook owner Meta for its slow response to an online charity scam using his name.

The TV presenter was alerted to the problem by We Care, a Sri Lankan-based dog charity he had visited in 2013 for his Channel 5 show New Lives In The Wild.

The organisation raised its concerns after someone had unwittingly messaged the fake Facebook account set up in its name, which featured Mr Fogle’s visit, and then been asked for a donation via a personal PayPal account.

Mr Fogle, 48, who does not use Facebook personally but has an official holding account set up in his name to deter impostors, posted his complaint on Instagram, which is also owned by Meta. 

It prompted a Meta employee to get in touch and assist in deleting the scam.

Ben Fogle has hit out at Facebook owner Meta for its slow response to an online charity scam using his name

Last night a spokesman for Meta said: ‘The safety of our community is important to us and it is against our rules for accounts to impersonate someone else’ (file image)

But Mr Fogle told The Mail on Sunday: ‘There are lots of fake accounts that I have tried, over the years, to close down and it has taken a very long time to close each one.

‘They have been used for various things – people have got in touch saying I’ve invited them to dinner and they have actually turned up in restaurants.’

He added that Meta had been historically slow in taking down fake accounts, to the point where he has resorted to taking matters into his own hands and called in the police.

He also once employed a team of private investigators to look into a Twitter account sending ‘vile and disgusting’ death and rape threats against his 11-year-old daughter, after claiming both the social media giant and police had failed to act. 

It was discovered that the account was the product of a sophisticated ‘bot’ – software designed to send automated spam messages.

Despite admitting he was not ‘great at tech’, Mr Fogle said he could not understand why the algorithms used by social networks could not be used to take down fake accounts created by other bots. 

He said: ‘Surely you can put bot against bot. I have no idea how they can’t put an end to these fake accounts far quicker than they do.

‘I think that if Meta and some of the other social media networks want to keep people like me sharing and using their mediums, they are going to have to take a long hard look at how accounts are set up and also how these bot factories work.’

Last night a spokesman for Meta said: ‘The safety of our community is important to us and it is against our rules for accounts to impersonate someone else.

‘We take a hard line against this activity, and in the first quarter of 2022 we disabled more than 1.6 billion fake accounts on Facebook.

‘We’ve put substantial resources towards tackling scams with a global safety and security team of over 40,000 people and invested in AI and machine learning to help keep all those who use our platforms safe and secure.

‘While no enforcement is perfect, we continue to invest in new technologies and methods to stop scams and the people behind them.’

Source: Read Full Article