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Dutch court orders Facebook to ban celebrity crypto scam ads after another lawsuit

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A Dutch court has ruled that Facebook can be required to use filter technologies to identify and pre-emptively take down fake ads linked to crypto currency scams that carry the image of a media personality, John de Mol, and other well known celebrities.

The Dutch celerity filed a lawsuit against Facebook in April over the misappropriation of his and other celebrities’ likeness to shill Bitcoin scams via fake ads run on its platform.

In an immediately enforceable preliminary judgement today the court has ordered Facebook to remove all offending ads within five days, and provide data on the accounts running them within a week.

Per the judgement, victims of the crypto scams had reported a total of €1.7 million (~$1.8M) in damages to the Dutch government at the time of the court summons.

The case is similar to a legal action instigated by UK consumer advice personality, Martin Lewis, last year, when he announced defamation proceedings against Facebook — also for misuse of his image in fake ads for crypto scams. Lewis withdrew the suit at the start of this year after Facebook agreed to apply new measures to tackle the problem: Namely a scam ads report button. It also agreed to provide funding to a UK consumer advice organization to set up a scam advice service.

In the de Mol case the lawsuit was allowed to run its course — resulting in today’s preliminary judgement against Facebook.

It’s not yet clear whether the company will appeal but in the wake of the ruling Facebook has said it will bring the scam ads report button to the Dutch market early next month.

In court, the platform giant sought to argue that it could not more proactively remove the Bitcoin scam ads containing celebrities’ images on the grounds that doing so would breach EU law against general monitoring conditions being placed on Internet platforms.

However the court rejected that argument, citing a recent ruling by Europe’s top court related to platform obligations to remove hate speech, also concluding that the specificity of the requested measures could not be classified as ‘general obligations of supervision’.

It also rejected arguments by Facebook’s lawyers that restricting the fake scam ads would be restricting the freedom of expression of a natural person, or the right to be freely informed — pointing out that the ‘expressions’ involved are aimed at commercial gain, as well as including fraudulent practices.

Facebook also sought to argue it is already doing all it can to identify and take down the fake scam ads — saying too that its screening processes are not perfect. But the court said there’s no requirement for 100% effectiveness for additional proactive measures to be ordered.

Its ruling further notes a striking reduction in fake scam ads using de Mol’s image since the lawsuit was announced

Facebook’s argument that it’s just a neutral platform was also rejected, with the court pointing out that its core business is advertising. It also took the view that requiring Facebook to apply technically complicated measures and extra effort, including in terms of manpower and costs, to more effectively remove offending scam ads is not unreasonable in this context.

The judgement orders Facebook to remove fake scam ads containing celebrity likenesses from Facebook and Instagram within five days of the order — with a penalty of €10k per day that Facebook fails to comply with the order, up to a maximum of €1M (~$1.1M).

The court order also requires that Facebook provides data to the affected celebrity on the accounts that had been misusing their likeness within seven days of the judgement, with a further penalty of €1k per day for failure to comply, up to a maximum of €100k.

Facebook has also been ordered to pay the case costs.

Responding to the judgement in a statement, a Facebook spokesperson told us:

We have just received the ruling and will now look at its implications. We will consider all legal actions, including appeal. Importantly, this ruling does not change our commitment to fighting these types of ads. We cannot stress enough that these types of ads have absolutely no place on Facebook and we remove them when we find them. We take this very seriously and will therefore make our scam ads reporting form available in the Netherlands in early December. This is an additional way to get feedback from people, which in turn helps train our machine learning models. It is in our interest to protect our users from fraudsters and when we find violators we will take action to stop their activity, up to and including taking legal action against them in court.

One legal expert describes the judgement as “pivotal“. Law professor Mireille Hildebrandt told us that it provides for as an alternative legal route for Facebook users to litigate and pursue collective enforcement of European personal data rights. Rather than suing for damages — which entails a high burden of proof.

Injunctions are faster and more effective, Hildebrandt added.

“It clearly demonstrates that Facebook is an advertising platform that can be held liable under Dutch tort law for not taking adequate measure to remove fake ads, provided certain conditions apply (such as that the request for an injunction is sufficiently specific),” she said. “It also clearly demonstrates that filing an injunction to stop unlawful behaviour based on tort law can be very efficient, without having to prove damages, because the injunction can be enforced by way of penalty payments for each day that it is not complied with.”

“I believe that this is the kind of action Member State should enable under art. 79 GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation] in the case of unlawful processing of personal data,” Hildebrandt added.

“Art. 80 GDPR allows data subjects to mandate their right to file such an injunction to a dedicated NGO (thus enabling collective action). This is not the case for a tort actions suing for damages, in that case the GDPR leaves it up to the Member States whether or not to allow such mandating. On top of that suing for damages is very cumbersome in the case of unlawful processing, because it is usually very difficult to prove damages and to prove causality.”

The judgement also raises questions around the burden of proof for demonstrating Facebook has removed scam ads with sufficient (increased) accuracy; and what specific additional measures it might deploy to improve its takedown rate.

Although the introduction of the ‘report scam ad button’ does provide one clear avenue for measuring takedown performance.

The button was finally rolled out to the UK market in July. And while Facebook has talked since the start of this year about ‘envisaging’ introducing it in other markets it hasn’t exactly been proactive in doing so — up til now, with this court order. 

This report was updated with additional comment 

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2019/11/12/dutch-court-orders-facebook-to-ban-celebrity-crypto-scam-ads-after-another-lawsuit/

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Ethereum Istanbul Hard Fork Get Support From Major Crypto Exchanges

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Ethereum Istanbul Hard Fork Get Support From Major Crypto Exchanges

Following the successful Ethereum Istanbul hard fork update, several popular exchanges have announced their official support for the network upgrade.

Yesterday, on Dec. 7, the Ethereum’s network saw ample collaboration between node operators and miners to update the software to support the Istanbul hard fork.

Some crypto exchanges even sounded their willingness to update a few days prior to the scheduled hard fork.

A widely supported hard fork

Notably, Binance announced support for the upgrade on Dec. 5 and the day afterwards its U.S. subsidiary did the same. Coinbase also tweeted yesterday that Ethereum and ERC20 deposits and withdrawals have been resumed on its trading platforms and the node upgrade has been completed.

The website dedicated to reporting the state of Ethereum support of crypto exchange Kraken also suggests that the firm has undergone scheduled maintenance to update the nodes. While the Poloniex exchange has announced their support on twitter.

Bitfinex, the cryptocurrency trading firm with close ties to stablecoin operator Tether, also announced on Dec. 6 that it planned to support the hard fork.

Overall, the hard fork has seen widespread adoption by the community and not major negative events have been reported. This hard fork also included the previously discussed Muir Glacier hard fork, meant to address the so-called Ethereum Ice Age.

Published at Mon, 09 Dec 2019 00:00:00 +0000

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Top-5 Cryptos This Week: XTZ, ATOM, XRP, XMR, BNB

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Top-5 Cryptos This Week: XTZ, ATOM, XRP, XMR, BNB

The New York Digital Investment Group LLC (NYDIG) has received approval from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to offer its shares to institutional investors, including registered investment advisers, their clients and other eligible investors. 

The fund aims to invest in cash-settled BTC futures traded on exchanges that are registered with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Though the increasing number of offerings by various companies targeting the institutional investor is a positive sign, the larger players have been slow to invest in the space due to regulatory concerns and high volatility.   

Crypto market data weekly view

Crypto market data weekly view. Source: Coin360

While the institutions have been cautious, China has been racing ahead in developing blockchain technology for “real-world, practical use cases that are far beyond the experimental stage,” according to a report by Forkast Insights, the research arm of Asia-based Forkast. This is a positive sign for the crypto space for the long-term.

A report by crypto exchange SFOX shows that Bitcoin searches usually peak before the holidays. The firm said that Bitcoin’s price rallied for three consecutive days before Thanksgiving on Nov. 28. 

Will the price move higher before Christmas? We will have to wait and see. Meanwhile, let’s analyze the charts of the top-five performers to see whether they show any bullish patterns. 

XTZ/USD

Tezos (XTZ) was the top performer of the past seven days by a huge margin. The traders cheered the news that Binance would support zero-fee staking for Tezos from Dec. 4. The rewards would be calculated daily and distributed monthly. Can the altcoin extend its momentum in the coming week? Let’s analyze its chart.

XTZ/USD weekly chart

XTZ/USD weekly chart. Source: Tradingview

The XTZ/USD pair has been taking support close to the 20-week EMA for the past three weeks. The 20-week EMA has started to turn up and the RSI has jumped into the positive territory, which shows that bulls have the advantage. There is a minor resistance at $1.414152, above which a rally to $1.85 is likely.

A breakout of $1.85 will be a huge positive that will signal the start of a new uptrend. Above this level, a rally to $2.87 and then onwards to $3.37 is likely.

Contrary to our assumption, if the price turns down from the current levels or from the overhead resistance at $1.85, a few days of range-bound action is likely. The pair will weaken on a break below the critical support at $0.829651.

ATOM/USD

This is the second week in running that Cosmos (ATOM) has been among the top-performing major cryptocurrencies, which shows that it is backed by momentum. Can the altcoin build on its strength in the coming week or is it time to book profits? Let’s analyze the chart.

ATOM/USD weekly chart

ATOM/USD weekly chart. Source: Tradingview

The bulls are attempting to propel the ATOM/USD pair above the overhead resistance at $4.4389. If successful, the pair will start a new upward move that can reach $7. Therefore, the traders can initiate long positions on a close (UTC time) above $4.4389, as suggested in our earlier analysis.

Contrary to our assumption, if the bears defend the overhead resistance at $4.4389, the price might dip to the first support at $3. If this level holds, range-bound action between $3 and $4.4389 might ensue. However, if $3 breaks down, a drop to $1.9101 is likely.

We expect the bulls to aggressively defend $1.9101. A bounce from this support will keep the price inside the large range between $4.4389 and $1.9101. 

XRP/USD

Ripple released a total of 1 billion XRP tokens from its escrow wallet on Dec. 2 but returned it back within seven minutes. Some believe that Ripple dumping XRP has led to a decrease in the token price. However, the company claims that selling is needed to grow its ecosystem and to fund its operations. 

In the ongoing court case to determine whether XRP is a security or not, Ripple has filed a motion to dismiss the class-action suit arguing that even if XRP were a security, the statute of repose had passed before the lawsuit was brought to court.

Following the footsteps of MorningStar Japan, Japanese financial services giant SBI Holdings plans to pay shareholder dividends in the form of XRP tokens. Do the fundamental developments offer hope of a turnaround in prices? Let’s analyze its chart.

XRP/USD weekly chart

XRP/USD weekly chart. Source: Tradingview

The failure of the bears to capitalize on the break below the critical support at $0.22 indicates buying at lower levels. The bounce from the yearly low at $0.20041 has risen back above $0.22, which is a positive sign. If the bulls can propel the XRP/USD pair back above $0.24508, it will indicate that the markets have rejected the lower levels. We would turn positive if the price sustains above $0.24508.

However, if the bulls fail to push the price above $0.24508, the bears will again attempt to sink the price back below $0.20041. If successful, a drop to $0.18 is possible.

XMR/USD

The Monero (XMR) network successfully upgraded to RandomX on Nov. 30. The new upgrade uses random code execution together with memory-focused techniques and aims to be ASIC-resistant. Can the hard fork boost the price? Let’s study its chart.

XMR/USDT weekly chart

XMR/USDT weekly chart. Source: Tradingview

The XMR/USD pair has reached close to the resistance line of the ascending channel. A breakout of the channel will be a positive sign but it is likely to face stiff resistance at the moving averages. 

If the price turns down from the moving averages, a drop to $38.83 to $45.4494 support zone is likely. If this support zone holds, the pair might consolidate for a few weeks before making its next directional move.

Conversely, if the bulls succeed in propelling the price above the moving averages, a rally to $98 and above it to $121.4270 is likely. Therefore, we retain the buy recommendation given in an earlier analysis.

BNB/USD

In its attempt to expand support to various fiat currencies for crypto trading, Binance listed four ruble trading pairs on Dec. 2. 

On Dec. 3, the exchange announced the acquisition of decentralized app (DApp) information startup DappReview for an undisclosed amount. 

“This acquisition marks a significant step into the dapps ecosystem, and we will have more exciting developments in the near future,” said Binance CFO Wei Zhou. 

Will these steps help in boosting the price of Binance Coin (BNB)? Let’s see what the technicals are showing.

BNB/USDT weekly chart

BNB/USDT weekly chart. Source: Tradingview

The bulls have successfully defended the support at $14.2555 for the past three weeks. However, the rebound off the support has been weak, which shows a lack of aggressive buying at the current levels. The moving averages are on the verge of a bearish crossover, which is a negative sign.

If the bulls fail to propel the price above $16.50 within the next few days, the bears will attempt to sink the price back below $14.2555. A breakdown of the support will be a huge negative and can drag the price to $11.30.

Conversely, if the BNB/USD pair rises above the immediate overhead resistance at $16.50, a rally to $21.2378 is possible.  

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange.

Published at Sun, 08 Dec 2019 16:12:00 +0000

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Ethereum Price Stable Despite Hard Fork, Altcoins See Small Gains

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Ethereum Price Stable Despite Hard Fork, Altcoins See Small Gains

Sunday, Dec. 8 — most of the top 20 cryptocurrencies are reporting discreet gains on the day by press time, as Bitcoin (BTC) hovers around the $7,550 mark again.

Market visualization courtesy of Coin360

Bitcoin price is currently down by 0.2% on the day, trading at around $7,552 at press time, according to Coin360. Looking at its weekly chart, the coin is up by about 2.91%.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source:Coin360

On Dec. 6, cryptocurrency market analyst Alex Thorn pointed out on Twitter that the total number of on-chain Bitcoin addresses holding any amount of Bitcoin hit a new record of 28.39 million.

Ether (ETH) is holding onto its position as the largest altcoin by market cap, which currently stands at $16.3 billion. 

Coin360 data shows that ETH has seen its value increase by about 0.11% over the last 24 hours. At press time, ETH is trading around $150. On the week, the coin has also gained about 1.35% of value. 

Overall, the price of the coin seems completely unaffected by the upgrade to its software introduced by the recent hard fork. Some members of the cryptocurrency community express confusion and surprise over the lack of reaction on the asset’s price part on Twitter:

“I really don’t understand ethereum doesn’t go up today.”

Ether 7-day price chart. Source:Coin360

XRP is up by about 0.69% over the last 24 hours and is currently trading at around $0.227. On the week, the coin is up about 3.18%. Ripple’s XRP is currently the second-largest altcoin, has a market cap of $9.9 billion at press time.

XRP 7-day price chart. Source:Coin360

Among the top 20 cryptocurrencies, the only one reporting double digit gains is Algorand (ALGO), which has seen its value increase by about 10.46% over the 24 hours to press time.

At press time, the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is $204.8 billion, about 2.4% higher than the value it reported a week ago.
 

Keep track of top crypto markets in real time here

Published at Sun, 08 Dec 2019 13:30:00 +0000

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