Security Stop Press : Bill Ackman Imposter Scam Warning

Billionaire hedge-fund manager, Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management company has warned of the risks posed by recent Facebook ads impersonating Mr Ackman as part of an imposter fraud scam.

Mr Ackman’s company says it has already discovered 90 different versions of the advert which lures people into clicking on the ad by using Mr Ackman’s photo and identity (celeb-bait) and promising unrealistic investment returns. The intention of the adverts, placed by cyber criminals, is to steal the money of investors who fall victim the scam.

Facebook has described trying to stop such ads (more appear as soon as others are reported and taken down) like being like a game of “whack-a-mole”. Mr Ackman joins a long line of celebrities whose identities have been used by scammers. The general advice is that if an ad seems too good to be true or uses a celebrity to grab your attention, double-check before you click or buy anything.

An Apple Byte : Instagram and Facebook Ads ‘Apple Tax’

Meta has announced that it will be passing on Apple’s 30 per cent service charge (often referred to as the “Apple tax”) to advertisers who pay to boost posts on Facebook and Instagram through the iOS app.

This move is a response to Apple’s in-app purchase fees, which apply to digital transactions within apps available on the iOS platform (announced in the updated App Store guidelines back in 2022). Advertisers wanting to avoid the additional 30 per cent fee can do so by opting to boost their posts from the web, using either or via desktop and mobile browsers.

Meta says it is “required to either comply with Apple’s guidelines, or remove boosted posts from our apps” and that, “we do not want to remove the ability to boost posts, as this would hurt small businesses by making the feature less discoverable and potentially deprive them of a valuable way to promote their business.” 

Apple has reportedly responded (a statement in MacRumors), saying that it has “always required that purchases of digital goods and services within apps must use In-App Purchase,” and that because boosting a post “is a digital service — so of course In-App Purchase is required”.

Meta’s introduction of the Apple tax for advertisers on iOS apps highlights the conflict with Apple over digital ad space control and monetisation and this move, aimed at challenging Apple’s app store policies, could make advertising more costly and complicated for small businesses.