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Janet's ex suing Facebook here over 'fake adverts'

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Wissam Al Mana and Janet Jackson separated in 2017

Wissam Al Mana and Janet Jackson separated in 2017

Wissam Al Mana and Janet Jackson separated in 2017

A Qatari billionaire who married pop star Janet Jackson has brought a High Court action against Facebook in Dublin over what he says are fake advertisements for cryptocurrency using his name and image.

Wissam Al Mana is the UK-based executive director of the Al Mana Group, which consists of more than 50 companies involved in property, technology, media, entertainment, retail and the motor industry.

He married Jackson in 2012, but they separated in 2017.

Mr Al Mana claims that on several occasions since May 2019, he has been featured in fake ads that have been published by persons unknown to him using the Facebook Ads tool.

He wants to sue Facebook Ireland Ltd, which is the social media's European HQ, and the parties behind the adverts for defamation and malicious falsehood.

He claims the fake ads feature his image alongside sensationalist headlines and captions using his name.

When users click on them, he claims they are taken to a web page which contains a fake news story purporting to contain an interview with Mr Al Mana, where he recommends a cryptocurrency auto-trading program called Bitcoin Trader.

The fake article contains statements he claims are false and were never made by him, including one where he purports to refer to Bitcoin Trader in glowing terms.

The ads were removed following complaints from Mr Al Mana's representatives.

However, he is concerned about the publication of future fake ads containing his name and image.

Violation

As part of his claim, his lawyers say he rejects a view expressed by Facebook Ireland that its legal obligations are limited to the removal of specific ads when notified of their existence, or when they are deemed by the social media company as being in violation of its policies.

His lawyers are also seeking an order from the court requiring Facebook to disclose details that would allow them to identify the people who placed the ads, so he can bring proceedings against them.

Paul O'Higgins SC, for Mr Al Mana, said his side was in talks about progressing matters with Facebook, which was represented by Joe Jeffers BL.

The court agreed to adjourn the matter for a week to allow the discussions to progress.