Footballer Seani Maguire warns against 'false and defamatory postings' linking him to Bitcoin scheme

Footballer Seani Maguire warns against 'false and defamatory postings' linking him to Bitcoin scheme

Republic of Ireland international striker Seani Maguire is the latest well-known Irish person to have their likeness used in an online ad campaign without his consent.

The Preston North End striker, formerly of Cork City, has hit out at reports that had endorsed a "Bitcoin wealth loophole".

Maguire, who has played six times for the Republic of Ireland, reached out to his followers on Twitter to describe ads claiming that he had endorsed a money-making scheme using online digital currency Bitcoin as "a total fabrication".

It follows similar issues for broadcasters Miriam O'Callaghan and Ryan Tubridy, as well as other sports personalities, including Rob Kearney and Maguire's former international teammate David Meyler.

In a post on his official Twitter account, Maguire explained that "false and defamatory postings" online suggested that he had backed a Bitcoin scheme.

Maguire has denied any connection to the posts, which he described as "a scam".

"I have been made aware of false and defamatory postings published online that contain untrue, unfounded and defamatory quotes and allegations regarding my alleged involvement in an apparently illegitimate bitcoin wealth loophole and imply that I am deliberately promoting this scheme," he said.

"These alleged quotes and allegations are completely false and are a total fabrication, they should not be relied upon in any way.

"Please ignore what we believe to be a scam."

The Irish Examiner reached out to the Maguire via Preston North End for further comment.

In recent weeks, similar stories have emerged about a number of other well-known faces.

Images and likeness are used without knowledge or consent, with ads typically promoted on social media in a bid to get people to part with cash or click links to websites.

David Meyler, who announced his retirement from football at the end of August, was forced to respond to stories on social media that he had given up the sport due to new-found wealth.

"There’s a story going around online in Ireland claiming the real reason I retired was down to Bitcoin," he said.

"Just so you know it’s complete and utter nonsense; don’t believe a word of it. I have no interest in cryptocurrency. Thank you to everyone who sent me a link to the article."

In a high-profile case earlier this year, broadcaster Miriam O'Callaghan secured a High Court order requiring Facebook to provide her with information aimed at identifying those behind alleged defamatory adverts on the social media platform.

Ms O'Callaghan was seeking damages over the alleged false and malicious adverts containing her name on Facebook and Instagram in May 2018.

The High Court had previously heard that the adverts contained misleading and defamatory headlines wrongly suggesting that the broadcaster had left her job with RTÉ's Prime Time to promote skincare products.

Ms O'Callaghan said she had "nothing to do" with the adverts.

In a separate incident this week, Facebook confirmed that it had removed a number of sponsored posts featuring presenter Ryan Tubridy.

The posts, which were targeted at Irish users, featured images of Tubridy interviewing Graham Norton in 2016 and came with variations of the headline: "Presenter questions his career after being upstaged live on TV."

The post contained a link to Amazon.

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