A study conducted by two Italian cyber-security experts, Daniele Stroppa and Carlos Di Micheli, reveals that approximately a quarter of the luxury products advertised on the popular social media site, Facebook, originate from websites selling counterfeit products. The research is based on the review of 1,000 brands, of which 43 links directed users to fake merchandise.
Facebook claims they attempt to screen all ads in order to ensure they are legitimate and promptly respond to requests for removal.
We prohibit fraudulent or misleading claims or content, and to enforce our terms and policies, we have invested significant resources in developing a robust advertising review program that includes both automated and manual review of ads,” a spokesperson for Facebook wrote in an e-mail responding to the researchers.
Fraudulent links such as these have challenged luxury brands for years. Last September, popular luxury brand Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) agreed to work with Google to prevent the advertisement of counterfeit goods online. Guido Scorza, a lawyer specializing in intellectual property rights, said that one of the best ways to fight e-commerce sites that go against copyright is “not shutting them down but isolating them from the largest advertising chains.”
Not only are the goods sold by the fraudulent websites similar to the real thing, but the websites themselves are also designed to mimic that of the luxury designers. A convincing Ray-Ban knockoff website is a good example of this. Luxottica Group, the owner of Ray-Ban, is working with Facebook on mitigating this problem. The researchers urge consumers to double check before purchasing a product online, especially if it seems like a great deal. Often if it’s too good to be true, it is.
Read more here – “Unlike: Facebook Is Stuffed With Ads for Luxury Knockoffs, Study Says,” (Daniele Lepido, Bloomberg).