National News

Facebook reveals celeb scam report tool

Australians can now report fake ads they see on Facebook after scammers used unauthorised images of celebrities like Nicole Kidman and Karl Stefanovic.

The fake Australian celebrity endorsements were used to promote free product trials that were nearly impossible to cancel, or investment schemes.

"We continue to train our team to better recognise these ads, but feedback from people is critical," Facebook's Director of Product Management Rob Leathern told AAP on Thursday.

"When users report an ad, that helps us improve our automated detection of some of their changing tactics."

Mr Leathern said Facebook was trying to use facial recognition technology to help detect public figures in fake ads, but that presents challenges.

He said the company had removed more than 2.2 billion fake accounts worldwide between January and March this year.

It continues to build protection tools to prevent disruptions to their users.

The reporting tool lands in Australia after being tested in the UK, where TV presenter Martin Lewis dropped a lawsuit against Facebook after reaching an agreement that it take action on fake ads.

It comes as Sandra Bullock and Ellen DeGeneres reportedly launch legal action against online sellers that the US celebrities claim used fake comments attributed to them to promote products.

A West Australian woman lost almost $700,000 earlier in 2019 to an investment scheme promoted on social media using the image of mining magnate Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest, it was revealed in September.

Facebook partnered with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for an education campaign as part of Scam Awareness Week in August, and is looking to extend the reporting tool to more countries soon.

"We want to raise awareness and have people's feedback on any ad that might have escaped our reinforced automated tools to prevent this," Mr Leathern said.

"Scams are an ever complicated issue and we're trying to do everything possible to combat it".

Australians have lost more than $100 million on different types of scams in 2019, according to ACCC's Scamwatch data.

More than $18 million came from scams originating on social networks, with more than 6000 reports registered.

© AAP 2019