Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

Identity theft: request ;collective action against Meta

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Host Marie-Claude Barrette (Archive photo)

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  • Karine Mateu (View profile)Karine Mateu
  • Speech synthesis, based on 'artificial intelligence, allows the generation of spoken text from written text.

    Host Marie-Claude Barrette, who criticizes Facebook for not having acted when her identity and image were usurped to defraud users of the social network, has just filed a request for collective action against the house mother of the platform, Meta.

    Fake news published on Facebook using an alleged article from La Presse showed the ;host promoting cryptocurrency on the show Everybody talks about it, but all this had never happened. A link then invited users to invest in a cryptocurrency company that didn't exist.

    However, people were caught and ultimately realize that it was a fraud. Their money was gone. In addition to Marie-Claude Barrette, host Normand Brathwaite and others were targeted by a similar fraudulent scheme.

    I contacted the police, I went to the media, I made posts to say that it was false, but when people started telling me : "You're going to pay me back", with certain threats, I said to myself: "I can't live with that!" I found that, on a psychological level, it was becoming difficult, with no way out, Marie-Claude Barrette told the microphone of the show Midi info on ICI Premiere.

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    The host also contacted Meta to denounce the situation. The company responded that the advertising met its criteria, says Ms. Barrette.

    Take collective action against Meta, I realize, with all the messages I receive, that we had to do it!

    A quote from Marie-Claude Barrette

    SameLa Pressedid not manage to make this false news disappear, despite two formal notices to Meta and months of work, the editor told Midi info assistant and vice-president of information for the Montreal media, François Cardinal.

    In addition, these problems arose at a time when Meta's platforms no longer relay real news from traditional media due to a dispute with the federal government over the Online News Act, Mr. Cardinal noted.

    Marie-Claude Barrette, who did not want to sit idly by, asked the president of the Training and Prevention Academy for advice on fraud , Sylvain Paquette.

    The police forces, even if they manage to spot these people, will they have the capacity to arrest them in these countries? We determined that it was a network that operates from Eastern Europe, specifies Mr. Paquette.

    Fraud groups [in Eastern Europe] have a lot of resources, they make several billion dollars a year and they have the means to corrupt politicians or police officers. So stopping these people is difficult. At that point, you have to turn to companies that collaborate with them.

    A quote from Sylvain Paquette, president of the Fraud Training and Prevention Academy

    It was at this time that the collective action steps against Meta were initiated.

    According to law professor at the University of Montreal Pierre Trudel, it is very difficult to succeed in such a collective action in the United States, because there is a law which decrees that Intermediaries like Facebook are not responsible for content when it is provided by a third party.

    In Quebec, on the other hand, article 22 of the Act respecting the legal framework for information technologies is a little less favorable to these platforms, but there are conditions to respect.

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    Everything risks turning on whether Facebook knew or was considered reasonably likely to have knowledge of the illicit or fraudulent nature of the photos or advertisements that were published on its platform. This is the big challenge of an appeal like this.

    A quote from Pierre Trudel, professor of law at the University of Montreal

    For the lawyer who represents the plaintiffs before the Superior Court of Quebec, Me Gérald Samet, these criteria are respected in the present case.

    First, it's paid advertising. When there is such advertising, what must be understood is that there is a contract with Facebook and Meta. The second thing was that we reported this to Facebook and Meta, and the response was: This ad meets our advertising standards. Therefore, the control that was carried out by Facebook and Meta was not effective and they did not take our observations into account, argues the lawyer.

    He says he has confidence for the future, even if the fight against Meta may resemble that of David against Goliath.

    According to Me Samet, we will have to wait three to six months to find out if the court authorizes the collective action. Anyone who gives their name will be able to be part of it, both personalities whose image has been usurped and investors who have been defrauded. The legal battle can then begin.

    • Karine Mateu (View profile)Karine MateuFollow

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