Gary Lineker has denounced Twitter for allowing “obvious bullshit” after it promoted scam articles about him.
Links to the bogus stories include headlines that claim the Match Of The Day presenter faces “multiple charges” and has “confessed to fans” about a “huge error” in his career.
Following the link takes the user to a website pretending to be GQ magazine, in which the article claims the 58-year-old is “refusing to step down from hosting duties” despite endorsing a “new erectile dysfunction cure”.
The fake article claims Lineker told the Graham Norton Show: “I can tell you, this stuff is VERY potent.
“I’ve tried Viagra, I’ve tried Ginseng, I’ve tried Cialis – (the product) blows them all away.”
Each link on the site then leads to a site where you can buy the product.
A number of Twitter users said they have seen the tweets promoted on their timeline.
Sharing some of the posts, Terence Eden tweeted: “Twitter’s advertising algorithm is *desperate* for me know about this latest ‘scandal’.
“Which, it turns out, is a scam for little blue pills.
“Shill accounts, defaming an innocent person, pointing to dubious pharmaceuticals. But AI will solve all society’s ills.”
Twitter's advertising algorithm is *desperate* for me know about this latest "scandal".— Terence Eden (@edent) March 19, 2019
Which, it turns out, is a scam for little blue pills.
Shill accounts, defaming an innocent person, pointing to dubious pharmaceuticals.
But AI will solve all society's ills. pic.twitter.com/VPzAxvStY8
Lineker described the promoted tweets as “unacceptable” and called for greater checks by Twitter on what should be allowed to be advertised on the site.
“You need to stop allowing this obvious bullshit to happen @Twitter,” he tweeted.
“Do you do any checks on your advertising?
“I’ve ignored for some time, but there comes a point when enough is enough. Come on @Twitter it’s unacceptable.”
Lineker, who also tagged Twitter’s founder Jack Dorsey in an appeal about the fake articles, later thanked the platform for “getting in touch and acting on this”.
A Twitter spokesperson told the Press Association: “We don’t comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons. Our Quality Policy prohibits ads from misleading users into opening content by using exaggerated or sensationalised language.”
In 2018, MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis began a defamation lawsuit against Facebook following a raft of scam adverts featuring pictures of the consumer champion.
Mr Lewis dropped the lawsuit in January after the social network agreed to donate £3 million to Citizens Advice and set up a new scam advert prevention project.