Virgin Group founder Richard Branson has added his voice to a chorus of critics slamming the ‘worrying’ spread of scam articles online promoting get-rich-quick Bitcoin trading schemes, many of which use his identity for false endorsements.
Scurrilous advertisers have been quick to take advantage of a poorly policed market enabling them to impersonate established media platforms such as CNN and steal the identities of well-known figures with impunity.
Such content has spread rapidly across social media in the form of paid advertising which then links through to scam websites such as Bitcoin Trader.
Warning the public to be vigilant against such tricks Branson set out his position in a blog post, writing: “Some of the most regular and worrying Fake Stories currently spreading online are false endorsements of bitcoin trading schemes. While I have often commented on the potential benefits of genuine bitcoin developments, I absolutely do not endorse these fake bitcoin stories.
“Our legal teams work hard to take down these fake stories or companies misrepresenting us. In the last year we’ve dealt with hundreds of instances. We are doing all we can and the police also work tirelessly to shut down the major operations. We also contact the social networks where the fake stories are being spread and urge them to take the stories down and do more to proactively stop them appearing in the first place.”
Money Saving Expert founder Martin Lewis escalated his own battle with Facebook over its propagation of fake ads employing his image by suing it for defamation.