Facebook has had its hands full with the Libra stablecoin ever since it was released about a month ago. Now, it would seem that unsavory characters are looking to profit off the hype that the asset has gotten. On Monday, the Washington Post reported that the social media giant is dealing with several fake accounts on its platform, most of whom are promoting Libra. Per the report, while Facebook isn’t looking to launch the asset until the middle of next year (at the earliest, that is), the company already shut down a dozen accounts, pages, and groups on both Facebook and Instagram.
The Washington Post highlights how these accounts show the inability of Facebook to build trust and fight any fraud that will come with the introduction of Libra. These sellers go on these platforms and pretend to be authorized retailers where interested parties can buy cryptocurrency.
Per the report, some even employ the use of official marketing materials, including photos of CEO Mark Zuckerberg, to promise discounted rates of the asset on third-party platforms. A specific video showed on the post displayed Zuckerberg and a voiceover that claimed that 20 million units of the “coin” had already been distributed to early investors.
The entire problem with this new development isn’t precisely the advent of these scammers. Fraudulent people have pretty much always been on the prowl, and thanks to the media fodder than Libra has been so far, it’s not exactly surprising that this is happening.
However, what is concerning is the fact that Facebook doesn’t seem to be doing such an excellent job of keeping these accounts in check. Facebook has taken some of these accounts down, but it appears that a vast majority of the company’s efforts were done after the report on the Post was published.
This presents a real problem. Libra still isn’t out, and no one knows if it will even be available on cryptocurrency exchanges, if and when it does get released.
At this point, pretty much everyone who has a bit of an idea about crypto assets and tech known that Facebook plans to launch a cryptocurrency. However, a lot of these people might have heard about the media and government backlash that has followed. To them, Facebook’s cryptocurrency is just about ready. When they see these fake pages- especially those with higher traffic- and see that they’re selling “Libra,” these pages suddenly look legit.
Essentially, the existence of these pages means that people who know about Libra but are clueless about how or where to buy it through third party websites, are particularly at risk. The issue also could fuel the tension that is currently brewing between Facebook and the United States Congress.
David Marcus, Head of Blockchain at Facebook, appeared before both the Senate and the House of Representatives last week, in two separate hearings on Libra.
While he did try to provide clarity on Libra’s role within the financial industry, lawmakers seemed disinterested in the notion that Facebook’s dismal past with privacy won’t repeat itself with the asset.
One can only imagine how badly this development would hurt the company’s chances of convincing Congress about Libra’s safety.