Qatari business magnate and billionaire, Wissam Al Mana, is suing Facebook over fake ads that used his image to promote a cryptocurrency scam, The Times reported on 23 February.
According to the report, Janet Jackson’s ex-husband filed an injunction against the social media giant in Dublin, claiming defamation, malicious falsehood and false advertising by the unnamed cryptocurrency firm on Facebook. The reason Dublin was chosen is because Ireland’s defamation laws are notoriously more plaintiff-friendly, whereas Facebook can hide behind the first amendment in the U.S..
Estimated to be worth around 1 billion Euro, the Qatari magnate owns the regional rights to brands such Harvey Nichols, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Hermès, as well as the McDonalnd’s franchise. He also deals exclusively with popular western fashion brands such as Benetton, Zara, and Mango.
Even though he is well-known throughout the Middle East, Al Mana is fairly unknown name in the West. Was it not for his marriage to Janet Jackson in 2012, and his later divorce in 2017, he would have flown under the radar in Western countries.
Al Mana is known to be a private person, who rarely speaks to the media. He goes through great difficulties to restrict the public information available on him to his website, where he recently stated that he does not have social media accounts.
The disclaimer on his website reads:
“www.wissamalmana.com is the only official source of information about Mr. Wissam Al Mana on the Internt. He does not operate any social media accounts, so any accounts that you find with his name or picture are not official and should not be quoted or used as a source of accurate information.”
Al Mana is not the first billionaire to sue Facebook over fake cryptocurrency ads. Back in June 2019, Dutch billionaire John de Mol took the social media giant to court, and scored a victory, for the same reason as Al Mana.