TVNZ has complained to Facebook after the publication of
weight-loss ads using stars such as Petra Bagust, Toni Street
and Shavaughn Ruakere.
The two Breakfast presenters and Shortland Street actress'
images appear in separate advertisements for gyms and a
beauty product which claim 13kg can be lost with "two simple
TVNZ spokeswoman Megan Richards said the broadcaster had been
aware of the issue for several weeks, although the bogus ads
appeared to have evolved recently.
Half a dozen gyms including the national chain Les Mills have
been promoted by the ads, while earlier ads were linked
directly to the product Duocleanse. Clicking on the link
takes the user to the promoted gyms' websites but Ms Richards
said all had denied having anything to do with the ads.
TVNZ's legal team had asked the social media giant to remove
the ads as it was unpleasant for its stars and clearly a
breach of copyright.
"Our view is ... somebody is making money out of this
somehow, somewhere but we have not yet established where in
the chain this is taking place and where it is."
Bagust's pictures had been in use longer than Street's. Ms
Richards said Facebook was investigating.
"They've picked it up but they haven't offered us any
resolution just yet either ... Clearly [Bagust] is not happy,
we're not happy and we'd like to get it down as soon as
Les Mills reported the ads to Facebook yesterday. National
marketing manager Kristin Falconer said the company was
disappointed "our brand is being used in this way, and
without our knowledge".
Another gym used in the ads, ABSolute Health & Fitness in
Dunedin, asked for help from members.
"If you see an advertisement on your newsfeed with a photo of
Petra Bagust using our website address, report it to
Facebook, it actually takes you to a spam site. We have never
asked or wanted any advertising on Facebook."
An Australian Facebook representative asked for comment did
NetSafe chief technology officer Sean Lyon warned businesses
that although Facebook's ability to target particular groups
was unlike any other media platform, there were risks.