Martin Lewis is a god, he is followed by millions because he is consistent in what he does. He does not advertise products.
And yet Facebook allow advertisers to hi-jack his brand, even his image and use it to endorse their products – which are usually scams.
The worst of this is that no-one is more scrupulous than Martin Lewis not to make irresponsible statements. He rarely if ever comments on pensions because pension outcomes are speculative, Martin deals in the hear and now. His uber-cautious approach to financial management relies on people making lots of small decisions well. To become debt-free is a typical aim of his followers. This may not be a sophisticated strategy, but its one that ordinary people understand.
Nothing could be further from this simple cautious approach that the rubbish that is peddled by the scammers.
It is a great shame that Facebook, which is used by precisely the people that use Martin’s www.moneysavingexpert.com , pays so little attention to the adverts that appear upon its pages that it undermines the great work Lewis has and is doing.
There is no point waiting for regulation to catch up. The best way to talk to Facebook, is to contact Nicola Mendelsohn at Facebook. These are her details, if you have the capacity to send a linked in inmail -that is the best route.
My message to her this morning went like this
I am a Facebook user and a follower of Martin Lewis. I urge you to get Facebook to clean up its act and not allow further ads that falsely use Martin’s name. I want a good Facebook and allowing scammers to advertise in this way not only devalues Martin’s work, it devalues Facebook.
A way forward
Social media is bursting at the seams, shirt buttons are flying off in all directions as muscly beasts like Facebook, grow.
Along the way, there are problems, this is one of them. It is not enough for Facebook to sort out the problems associated with Martin Lewis; Facebook must put in place controls to ensure that all paid for content is subject to the standards expected of the Advertising Standards Board.
Being new, and digital and having no single regulatory framework to work in , is no mitigation for this behaviour.
I hope that the millions of ordinary people who support Martin, will put pressure on Facebook to change. Facebook cannot hide behind some cross-border regulatory arbitrage. It should be bound by the common laws of decency, properly summed up by the phrase “treat customers fairly”. In this case, they should not be allowing Martin Lewis’ name and image to be used to endorse products he would never entertain for any purpose (least of all to advertise).
I wrote a blog on vulnerability on Saturday, it talked of the way pay-day loans are targeting student grant payments. You can read it here. But that abuse pales into insignificance compared with the problems Martin Lewis has uncovered. My blog may inform this one, in its dealing with “vulnerable customers”.
We might think we are individually too small to make a difference, but that is not the case. The people who make most difference are the huge numbers of us who care enough to sign petitions, write notes and support the work of the great campaigners,
Martin Lewis, Paul Lewis, Angie Brooks and all the people who appear on this blog as heroes, do so because they take the trouble to call-out when they see a scam. The least we can do – is drop Nicola Mendelsohn a line.