Scammers are using doctored videos and images of Elon Musk to advertise on Facebook and Instagram. Meta, Facebook, nor Instagram are doing anything to stop these out-of-control scammers.
Hopefully, that will change. Probably not.
Andrea Stroppa, former contributor to the World Economic Forum, and cyber security researcher focusing on digital communication, social media, and research, shared what he found. He also shared his thoughts with me.
In a Twitter thread, Andrea pointed out that both Facebook and Instagram have a major problem. Both social media networks allow hundreds of sponsored posts that link to scams.
These scammers are using the name and face of Elon Musk with fake interviews or fake endorsements.
“In the past three days, this page created 20 different ads on Facebook and Instagram with a video of Elon Musk that suggested investing in a crypto platform. It’s a scam,” Andrea tweeted.
Andrea found that these scammers also use verified Facebook pages to advertise on the Meta apps. These verified pages are most likely hacked.
Elon Musk, SpaceX, and Tesla are used in these scams.
The scammers don’t limit themselves to verified pages, but they also have recently created pages with fewer than ten thousand followers that are given the green light by Facebook to advertise.
Elon Musk isn’t the only one these scammers are using to advertise their scams. They also use the logos of both Tesla and SpaceX.
And they use the power of the Meta Business Suite to target specific users for countries, ages, sex, and other variables.
Analyzing Fraudulent Ads on Facebook And Instagram
Andrea said that his team analyzed the fraudulent ads on these platforms that were related to counterfeit products for a particular target audience.
What he found instead were these scams which, he added, are very likely the top of the iceberg. These scams have a common pattern.
In my opinion, Facebook doesn’t seem to care about stopping it. As long as they get their money, they seem to be just fine with the scams. If not, then they would put an end to the scams. Right?
Perhaps someone at Meta will read that and prove me wrong.
Austrian Office of Taipei hacked
Andrea’s team even found a government page involved with the scams. He shared a screenshot of the Austrian Office Taipei’s post claiming “Tesla’s latest project shocks the world and the bank is in shock.”
Fortunately, the Austrian Office of Taipei was able to recover their account and posted a statement about being hacked.
However, all of their content posted between August 2021 and May 2022 was deleted.
“We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the scammers. We have done all we can to make sure that nobody is able anymore to abuse our page.”
“As of today, we will return in the usual manner to inform you about our activities in Taiwan, inform you about Austria in all its aspects, such as culture, as a travel destination, its economy and businesses, science and innovation, sustainability and many other areas.”
“Thank you so much for your support. The Team of the Austrian Office Taipei.”
Elon Musk & Meta’s users are victims of negligence
Andrea called on Andrew Bosworth (Boz) the Chief Technology Officer at Meta and
Adam Mosseri, the Head of Instagram to be serious about the moderation of ads on these networks.
“Elon Musk and your users are both victims of scammers and your negligence. Fix it now.”
In a statement to Teslarati, Andrea Stroppa said,
“No doubt that Elon Musk is not just one of the best entrepreneurs of his generation but even a formidable capital allocator. That’s why many people want to listen to his bits of advice.”
“But all these ads appearing on Facebook and Instagram with potential investments are scams.”
“Looking at these malicious ads, there are many common patterns, keywords, and media content. Facebook has the technical skills to reduce the magnitude of these damaging activities. But they don’t.”