UK forces Big Tech to fight online scams According to Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Facebook, Google, and Twitter logos are seen in this combined image from the Reuters files. REUTERS / File Image

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Tuesday it will force Google (NASDAQ:), Facebook (NASDAQ:), Twitter (NYSE:) and other online platforms to block paid fraudulent ads after Regulators and consumer groups called for stronger crackdowns on scams.

The government says the draft law to prevent online harm will include a requirement for major platforms to improve protection from criminals impersonating celebrities or companies to steal personal data. , defrauding unsafe financial investments or breaking into bank accounts.

Media regulator Ofcom will check whether platforms have put in place systems to prevent and remove fake ads. The watchdog could block services or impose fines of up to £18 million ($24 million) or 10% of annual revenue, the government said.

Culture Minister Nadine Dorries said: “These changes to the upcoming Online Safety bill will help prevent scammers from defrauding people using fake online advertisements.”

Online scams from ads on Google, Facebook, Twitter and other social media are mushrooming as more and more people go online during the COVID-19 lockdown.

According to data from UK Finance, a body in the banking industry, a UK record worth £754 million was stolen in the first six months of 2021 in bank scams, an increase of almost a third from for the same period in 2020.

In response to pressure from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), some online services are restricting the advertising of financial products to FCA-regulated companies. The agency has called for stronger power.

“This could make a big difference in stopping the tide of fake and fraudulent advertising across social media and,” said Anabel Hoult, executive director of the consumer campaigns group. search engine, which causes severe financial and emotional harm to innocent victims”.

The government says it is also conducting public consultations on tightening rules for the online advertising industry, either by strengthening the current self-regulatory approach or by creating a new watchdog. .

Ads that are harmful or misleading, such as negative body image ads and ads for illegal activities like weapons sales can face tough regulations and sanctions more, it said.

The government says influencers who don’t declare they’re being paid to promote products on social media could also face stiffer fines.

(1 dollar = 0.7629 pounds)

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