Broadcaster Miriam O'Callaghan has settled her High Court action over false and misleading advertisements published on Facebook.
As part of the settlement, the court heard Facebook has made it easier for Irish users to report misleading or scam ads.
Ms O'Callaghan said it had been a very stressful five years. She said she was relieved she had been able to protect her own name and reputation and to make sure other Irish people would not have to go through what she had gone through.
Ms O'Callaghan took the action over the fake ads containing her image and name, falsely claiming she had left her position with RTÉ's Prime Time programme to promote skincare products.
The ads were published on Facebook by malicious third parties, the court heard.
Ms O'Callaghan's lawyers secured a High Court order in 2019 requiring Facebook to give her information about who was behind the ads, but it had not been possible to identify them.
This morning, Senior Counsel Paul O'Higgins told the court the proceedings had been settled.
An apology was read to the court by barrister Joe Jeffers, on behalf of Facebook Ireland, who are now known as Meta Platforms Ireland.
Meta apologised unreservedly to Ms O'Callaghan and said the ads contained fabricated statements that had been extremely damaging to her.
It said it accepted and regretted that the publication of the ads had caused Ms O'Callaghan distress and embarrassment and regretted any wider concerns and distress caused by them.
The court heard Ms O'Callaghan was satisfied that the publication of the fake ads using her name and image had stopped.
As a result of her action, Meta Platforms had undertaken to her that it will use robust measures to tackle such ads in future. It is now offering Irish users the ability to report misleading or scam ads through a new "scam ad reporting tool".
Outside court, Ms O'Callaghan's solicitor, Paul Tweed said she was satisfied with the comprehensive and categoric statement and apology given on behalf of Facebook.
Broadcaster Miriam O'Callaghan has settled her High Court action over false and misleading advertisements published on Facebook. Speaking outside court, she said that she was very happy and relieved that the matter had been settled | https://t.co/bV7pl8Uosf pic.twitter.com/8Hvswve1kc— RTÉ News (@rtenews) February 25, 2022
He said the legal process had been lengthy and challenging, but had been successful, particularly in relation to the implementation of the new reporting tool.
Mr Tweed said a report in this way would go directly to a specialist team within Facebook for review and would make it easier to report, prevent and generate a more effective response.
He said Ms O'Callaghan had achieved her objectives of terminating the fake ads, taking steps to give Irish users more protection and totally vindicating her own reputation.
Ms O'Callaghan said it had been a very stressful five years since the ads first appeared, but she was very happy and very relieved the matter had been settled.
She said it was important to get the ads down to protect her name and reputation, but also to make sure the new reporting tool was introduced so other Irish people would not have to go through what she had to go through as it would now be much easier to report such scams.
Ms O'Callaghan thanked her lawyers but noted that she had only gone to lawyers because she was desperate. People were coming up to her all the time, saying the ads were everywhere, she said, and she had failed to get them down until she went to court.
She said she had never considered giving up because she said she knew she had to do something for other people dealing with ads like this as it was "just not okay".
She urged people to report misleading or scam ads on Facebook using the new reporting tool.