Meta once pursued the creation of a digital currency called Libra, but posts on Facebook and Instagram advertising investment opportunities with an app of the same name are not legitimate. The company sold its cryptocurrency project in 2022, and the ads appear to be dubbed with fabricated audio.

"Libra is a one-of-a-kind program that uses AI to operate on the stock exchange," Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg appears to say in a clip posted to Facebook on November 12, 2023.

The ad features images of stacked Canadian dollars and lauds the supposed benefits of an investment app called Libra. The post encourages users to share their personal information to participate in the program.

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The Facebook page that published the video was created November 6 and bears the same name as the supposed investment app.

A keyword search of Meta's Ad Library reveals scores of similar active and inactive ads on Instagram and Facebook. Many of the pages behind the promotions also launched within the past two months.

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The ads link to websites that solicit personal information and do not appear to be connected to Meta.

A reverse image search reveals many of the Zuckerberg cameos come from a 2021 video announcing the launch of Meta as the umbrella company for Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and other brands (archived here). The two-year-old clip does not mention Libra or investment apps.

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Meta's policies prohibit the use of public figures in a deceptive nature in order to try to scam people out of money, and posts in violation can be removed.

Libra project discontinued

Facebook announced its Libra cryptocurrency in 2019. The company developed the technology and then entrusted control of the project, whose name changed to Diem in 2020, to an independent entity based in Geneva.

After pushback from global finance officials, the Facebook-backed Diem Association sold the technology to Silvergate Capital Corporation in January 2022. Silvergate folded one year later.

There have been reports of a new Meta digital currency known internally as "Zuck Bucks," but the idea had not been publicly announced as of December 14.

AFP has previously fact-checked fake ads promoting investment apps to Canadians using the likenesses of public figures such as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and popular news anchors.

Read more of AFP's reporting on misinformation in Canada here.

December 14, 2023Paragraph 8 was updated to add Meta's policy on the deceptive use of public figures.