Facebook has been accused of not doing enough to stop the sale of counterfeit products on its platform, following an investigation into the sale of fake goods on social media.
According to investigators from Britain's National Trading Standards, the digital giant has failed to remove promotions and postings for counterfeit designer handbags, electrical appliances and clothes, which have generated millions of pounds in sales.
The investigation found Facebook did not remove the posts even after receiving an official warning and investigators have urged the US firm to do more to stem the flow of counterfeit goods available for purchase.
The European Commission has also previously warned social media companies they could face hefty fines if they do not step up their efforts to tackle the sale of fake items online.
While Facebook has cracked down on advertisements for fake goods, its Marketplace allows users to list and trade items without charge and the platform has proved to be a fertile ground for scammers.
"They do make money from this and are not doing enough to take down these products," Mike Andrews, from the National Trading Standards eCrime team, was quoted as saying by The Sunday Times.
"We have tried and tried, but at the moment they often do not properly respond to the requests to take down the products. It's unsatisfactory."
HMRC, police forces and trading standards are all involved in Operation Jasper, the ongoing investigation into the sale of fake goods online, which has so far led to over 12,000 Facebook listings being taken down since 2015.
Earlier this year, a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development showed imports of fake items in Britain were worth a combined £9.4bn, meaning counterfeit goods amount to approximately 4% of the UK's total imports.
The investigation found a Facebook page called Replica Handbags, Clothing and Accessories offered knockdown prices for fake replicas of some designer items. A Gucci T-shirt was available for £25, compared with a retail price of £340, while an Yves Saint Laurent bag costing £750 was available for just £40.
Other listings included a fake Louis Vuitton handbag for £50 (real price £880), Rolex watches for £150 (real price £3,150) and fake Ray-ban sunglasses for £19 when the real item costs over £100.
According to the Intellectual Property Office, Facebook is now "a favourite for counterfeit sellers", having surpassed the likes of Amazon and eBay to claim the unwanted accolade, after both online marketplaces have cracked down on the sale of fake goods on their websites.