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EQ Weekly Roundup

This week’s roundup includes news that Martin Lewis – the money saving expert – is suing Facebook, TSB was hit by a mass glitch that allowed customers to access accounts that weren’t theirs, and the Culture Secretary has signalled he may investigate Trinity Mirror’s £127m deal to buy the Star and Express newspapers.

The ‘Money Saving Expert’ to sue Facebook

Consumer campaigner Martin Lewis is to launch UK High Court proceedings in a bid to sue Facebook for defamation.

The MoneySavingExpert founder claims at least 50 fake ads bearing his name have appeared on the site, causing reputational damage to him.

Facebook says misleading ads are not allowed and any reported are removed.

On Monday, Lewis lodged court papers at the High Court for a defamation case against Facebook.

He is seeking damages but has pledged that any money he receives will go to anti-scam charities.

Several of the adverts tout schemes with titles such as Bitcoin code and Cloud Trader which, according to Lewis, are fronts for binary trading firms outside the EU.

Facebook has replied: ‘We do not allow adverts which are misleading or false on Facebook and have explained to Martin Lewis that he should report any adverts that infringe his rights, and they will be removed.

’We are in direct contact with his team, offering to help and promptly investigating their requests.’

TSB hit by mass glitch

TSB has been forced to apologise after millions of customers’ accounts were hit by a widespread glitch.

The bank blamed an upgrade to its systems over the weekend for the massive failure and has since apologised to customers. TSB says the problem has now been fixed.

The error stopped millions from being able to access their accounts and, in some cases, people could access accounts that weren’t their own.

In one case, customer Matthew Neal was accidently able to view someone else’s £35,000 savings account and £11,000 ISA.

After fixing the problem, TSB has said: ‘We're really sorry that some of our customers experienced problems accessing our mobile app and internet banking yesterday evening. Both of these services are now up and running again.’

Newspaper deal could be investigated

Trinity Mirror's £127m deal to buy the Star and Express newspapers could face a government investigation, according to Culture Secretary Matt Hancock.

Hancock said he was ‘minded’ to intervene on public interest grounds, including the need to ensure a ‘plurality of views’ in the media.

Trinity Mirror agreed to buy newspapers and magazines such as OK! from Northern & Shell in February. This would make it the second largest national newspaper organisation in circulation terms, with a 28% share of monthly circulation.

Elsewhere the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has already opened its own probe, investigating whether the deal would ‘significantly reduce’ competition within the UK media sector.

It has until 7 June to decide whether to open a more in-depth competition investigation.

Retail woes force hundreds of store closures

Nearly 650 shops and restaurants have shut since the start of 2018 or are at risk of closure, according to analysis by the BBC.

Maplin and Toys ‘R’ Us account for half that total, with both chains entering administration on the same day in February.

The BBC's analysis shows that cities have borne the brunt of these retail insolvencies, but towns across the UK have also been affected. Many already have a high shop vacancy rate.

A number of other businesses have sought to ease their financial pressures through a company voluntary arrangement, another form of insolvency.

Carpetright and New Look are planning to close stores in this way, and the restaurant chains Jamie's Italian, Prezzo and Byron Burger are also using the process to shut sites.

Separately, M&S are in the middle of a store closure plan and will shut six by the end of April, while a further seven will close later this year.