TV presenter fights Facebook

TV host's photo used in weight loss ad online

MICHELLE ROBINSON
Last updated 05:00 31/01/2013
Rachel Smalley
AMANDA MIDGLEY/ Fairfax NZ
AD BATTLE: Firstline presenter Rachel Smalley is battling to have her image removed from a weight loss advertisement on Facebook.

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Television presenter Rachel Smalley is battling to get a photo of her used in a weight loss advertisement removed from Facebook.

Smalley, a presenter on TV3's Firstline, discovered yesterday her image was being falsely used in the advertisement on the social networking site yesterday and is in talks to have it removed.

She took to social media site Twitter to vent her frustration.

"Another email from Facebook. They say unless I can prove ownership of my photo, they won't remove it from their advertiser's link. #argh!"

She told Fairfax Media she was disappointed by Facebook's lack of action.

"It seems that these scams develop faster than the solutions to fix them. Facebook makes money out of selling advertising space and it has a responsibility to ensure those ads are legitimate."

Smalley said she had not received spam mail or clicked any dodgy links.

"Someone has actually taken the time to source a photo of me off the internet. I hope that anyone who's seen the ads knows that I haven't authorised for my image to be used.

"In any case, I like mince pies and caramel-slice far too much be endorsing a weight-loss website."

Smalley is not the first New Zealand celebrity to be targeted by scam weight loss advertisements.

Late last year, Shortland Street actress Shavaughn Ruakere and TVNZ presenters Toni Street and Petra Bagust were embroiled in a similar situation, where the ad linked web users to gym websites.

Netsafe executive director Martin Cocker said several complaints were made about the false use of the photos.

"We spoke with Facebook, we're trying to improve the system for monitoring ads."

But it's no easy task, he said.

"These companies place an ad and then change the content later, it's hosted externally to Facebook. So it's difficult for them to see the changed ad online and report it."

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