Minhaj Aman

Research-Lead, Dismislab
Gambling Ads on Facebook Distorting Statements of RAB-BTRC Officials
This article is more than 1 month old

Gambling Ads on Facebook Distorting Statements of RAB-BTRC Officials

Minhaj Aman

Research-Lead, Dismislab

The advertisements for a gambling app on Facebook have been created by distorting the statements of the Director of Legal and Media Wing of RAB and the then Vice Chairman of BTRC. These ads have been running on the social media platform Facebook for some time now. Upon verification, Dismislab has found that the advertisement was crafted by manipulating footage from a TV report.

In the Meta Ad Library, at least six advertisements with the same caption, “✔✅Crazy Time Winner Casino Official App,” were discovered using keywords. Two of these ads included videos featuring the aforementioned officials. The airing of one commenced on April 7th, while the other began on April 18th.

In the initial segments of these advertisements, a news presenter announces the retirement of cricketer Shakib Al Hasan. Following this, Khandaker Al Moin, the Director of RAB’s Legal and Media Wing, is heard endorsing the betting app, implying that users can win jackpots through it. Similarly, Mohiuddin Ahmed, the then Vice Chairman of BTRC (now Chairman), assures viewers that the application is completely safe for all users.

Further verifications by Dismislab revealed that fake audio was overlaid onto footage of the two officials from a news report aired on RTV on November 9, 2023. Additionally, the speech of the news presenter was manipulated.

The original report, titled “Content creators are the target of the online betting agents,” is available on RTV’s verified YouTube channel. In the report, Khandaker Al Moin commented on the operations of betting app owners, noting their use of VPNs and celebrities for promotion. He also highlighted the money laundering aspect, indicating that significant sums were being smuggled abroad through these gambling sites. However, this statement was twisted in the ads to promote casino gaming and jackpot wins.

Similarly, the statement of BTRC’s then Vice Chairman Mohiuddin Ahmed was distorted to endorse casinos. Although he had spoken about shutting down websites and preventing harmful games from influencing future generations, his words were falsely used in Facebook ads to claim the safety of the betting app for all users. These ads misrepresent the statements of these officials, as reported by RTV.

Moreover, Dismislab’s verifications have uncovered multiple instances where betting or casino apps are being promoted on Facebook by distorting audio-videos of public figures. Notably, advertisements have exploited images or videos of Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, and Mustafizur Rahman.

Facebook’s Manipulated Media Policy promises that such deceptive videos will be removed. Advertising for any betting or casino app in Bangladesh is illegal too. Moreover, Bangladesh is not among the 35 countries where such advertisements are permitted, according to Meta’s policy. Yet such commercials continue to be displayed on Facebook here.