Google, Facebook and Twitter are being sued in Australian class action that can cost up to $ 300 billion
Cryptocurrency entrepreneurs are preparing to sue Google, Facebook and Twitter in an Australian class action lawsuit that could cost the tech giants up to $ 300 billion ($ 436 billion).
The David-and-Goliath case has so far attracted litigants with US $ 600 million (A $ 872 million) in claims – a number that has increased as more people join.
The no-win no-fee case has now been brought before a senior lawyer for review pending funding.
Cryptocurrency entrepreneurs are suing Google, Facebook and Twitter in Australia under anti-trust laws, saying the major tech companies were plotting to ban crypto and blockchain ads
The companies and individuals, represented by Sydney-based company JPB Liberty, say their businesses suffered damage when Google, Facebook and Twitter banned all cryptocurrency ads in 2018.
The social media giants acted within weeks of each other, incorporating the ban into their terms of service.
Google announced it would partially reverse the sweeping ban in September 2018 to allow regulated exchanges to buy ads in the U.S. and Japan.
Facebook said in 2019 that it would no longer require pre-approval for ads related to blockchain technology, which were also entangled in the ban, but that cryptocurrency advertisement should still undergo an assessment.
The Australian Moneysmart government website warns of people losing their money in speculative cryptocurrency initial coin offers on unregulated exchanges, saying a lot of scams have been found.
Brian Bishko (left) and Chief Executive Andrew Hamilton (right), JPB Liberty’s Vice President of Technology, were seen last July. The pair are at the forefront of the lawsuit
Other cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin, have turned into commonly used products that are useful for moving money across borders, while the blockchain technology that underlies it is revolutionizing data security.
The entrepreneurs say there were very few regulated exchanges in 2018, so the social media ad ban harmed their legitimate business growth, as they didn’t have access to the world’s largest online ad platforms to reach potential customers.
JPB Liberty organizes financing for the cause of institutional process financiers, venture capital and ideologically minded investors.
Claimants receive 70 percent of any settlement or damages, while funders receive 30 percent.
Brian Bishko, JPB Liberty’s Israeli Vice President of Technology & Public Affairs and himself a conservative blogger, said the giants on social media had grown too big.
“I think Facebook is too powerful to exist in the world – I honestly think it’s a threat to the world,” he said.
Dr. Bishko said the cryptocurrency ad ban also crushed new social media networks running on blockchains, such as Hive, which pays content creators in its own Hive cryptocurrency.
“Hive, who was then called Steem, had grown and grown – and suddenly they couldn’t advertise on Facebook and get new users,” he said.
Social media giants Facebook, Twitter, and Google cannot be held responsible for content on their platforms in the U.S., although they increasingly make editorial decisions such as a publisher
“It caused enormous damage.”
“If your company had something that looked like a cryptocurrency, you got caught up in the same net.
“So you might get a few ads, but in the end they do a review and your account is blocked.”
These new emerging social media platforms using blockchain technology are a threat to YouTube and Facebook, said Dr. Bishko.
Concept of code of conduct for digital platforms at the end of July
The power and market dominance of the social media giants was on Australia’s radar last year.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) filed a lawsuit against Google in October last year over allegedly misleading behavior of the tech giant’s use of personal location information.
The Morrison government then moved this year to force the social media giants to share revenue with traditional news media.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg instructed the ACCC to develop a code of conduct on digital platforms after the media giants failed to conclude a voluntary agreement.
A draft code is due to be completed by the end of July and includes enforcement, sanctions and ways to resolve disagreements between the global platforms and local media companies.
It covers issues such as data sharing, ranking and display of news content in search engines, monetization and revenue sharing.
Once a content creator has posted on Hive, it cannot be deleted as it is on the blockchain – and the decentralized system cannot be monitored.
“It’s like there’s a force in it, it’s decentralized, it’s not controlled by a central authority called ‘Mark Zuckerberg,'” he said.
The four major social media giants, on the other hand, own all the content posted on their platforms and can censor or delete it at will.
“You don’t own your stuff when you post it on Facebook, you don’t own it on Twitter – your account can be taken,” said Dr. Bishko.
The social media giants cannot be held responsible for the content on their platforms because of a US legal protection that considers them a platform and not a publisher, but they are increasingly making editorial decisions about what content to host.
They can delete or demonetise accounts, and ban or de-platform people and businesses that make a living on social media with ideas that Silicon Valley disagrees with.
Social media giants like Google’s parent Alphabet have the power to demonize content creators who have been making videos for YouTube for years. It can also deprive websites of advertising dollars
Google Ads recently demonstrated the finance and free speech website ZeroHedge.com on June 16 for racist content that stemmed from non-moderated comments under the site’s articles.
Google and Facebook together accounted for 60.9 percent of all U.S. digital ad spend in 2019, according to eMarketer.com digital ad forecasts in October last year.
The pair also dominated the UK with a combined 63.3 percent share of digital ad revenue in 2019, according to eMarketer’s forecast.
Google is said to occupy 38.8 percent of the UK market in 2019 worth £ 5.72 billion, while Facebook would represent 24.5 percent or £ 3.62 billion.
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, also owns YouTube and thus also manages the ads on that platform.
Along with Twitter, the social media giants control the majority of online advertising platforms in the English-speaking world.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Google, Facebook and Twitter for comment.