The fake news nuisance is growing by the day where pictures and even deep-fakes are used to manipulate audiences. A new fake news controversy related to digital currencies has unveiled in New Zealand. A fake news ad campaign run on Facebook was using the pictures of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to promote digital currencies. The ads suggested that the New Zealand Treasury is investing half of its wealth in a new Bitcoin start-up.
Kiwi Targeted Ad Uses PM’s Images
The Prime Minister’s office reported that a series of ads using Jacinda Ardern’s images were selling cryptocurrencies via fake news sites. The ads were geo-targeted in New Zealand and were running on Facebook. These ads pointed users to a website that looks like the prominent news website CNN. The fake news story is about the New Zealand Treasury investing 50 percent of its wealth in a Bitcoin start-up.
The ads were reported to the government by news website Stuff. The office of the Prime Minister then reported these ads to Facebook, and they were taken down. The ads were used to target different age groups in New Zealand and featured captions like “Every Kiwi aged between 30 and 45 must NOT miss this.” These ads included a picture of PM Ardern, along with a photo of US president Donald Trump or some money.
PM’s Office Issues Clarification
According to a spokeswoman of the PM’s office, the amount mentioned in the fake news story — that is, half of the Treasury’s wealth or $250 million — is a grave understatement as the country holds more than this amount in its currency reserves. The spokeswoman further noted that the ads kept coming more and more to such an extent that the office was unable to monitor them constantly.
“We aren’t able to manually or digitally monitor the increasing volume of fake news that fraudulently uses images of the Prime Minister. When we are advised of or discover examples of fake news that fraudulently use images of the Prime Minister we immediately inform Facebook who are usually pretty good at taking them down.”
She also said that as the number of instances of these ads is increasing, social media platforms need to be vigilant about shutting down fake news that appears.