Last month I, alongside thousands of you, called on the government to protect consumers from online scam advertising, one of the most common ways fraudsters target their victims online. Last night, it acted.
Yesterday DCMS announced that fraudulent paid-for advertising will be brought in scope of the Online Safety Bill.
This amendment will place a new legal duty on major social media sites and search engines to prevent paid-for fraudulent and scam adverts from appearing on their platforms. It represents a huge step forward in the fight to protect consumers against online scams, and wouldn’t have happened without your support.
NEWS: We are introducing changes to the Online Safety Bill to clamp down on:
➡️ Fake ads
— DCMS (@DCMS) March 9, 2022
As you’re aware, Which? has been consistently calling on the government to ensure the Bill tackles scam adverts, not just fraudulent user-generated content, since the draft legislation was published last year.
Only two weeks ago our digivan toured Westminster and Big Tech firms across London, featuring a range of voices including scam victims, MPs and campaigners, appealing to Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries to amend the Bill, while thousands of you either tweeted or sent a postcard calling for this change. I want to say thank you to those who took the time to do this.
Speaking directly to Which? on Facebook and Twitter today, Nadine has confirmed she heard our calls, and hopes that amending the Bill to cover paid-for advertising will ‘stop fraudsters conning people out of their hard earned cash’.
We’ve listened to the calls to put scam ads in the Online Safety Bill.
These changes will force tech giants to stop online scams and stop fraudsters conning people out of their hard-earned cash. https://t.co/r4oEl9JSoU
— Nadine Dorries (@NadineDorries) March 9, 2022
This amendment should make a huge difference to stemming the tide of fake and fraudulent ads on social media and search engines which cause devastating financial and emotional harm to innocent victims.
The Bill must now make sure the regulator has the support and resources it needs to hold companies to account, so that fraudsters are prevented from using adverts to lure unsuspecting victims.
I’d like to thank all of those who have supported our campaign so far, and who called on Nadine directly last month by sending a postcard or tweet. Getting the government to amend this legislation to ensure it addresses the range of scams that take place online has been no small feat, but yesterday’s announcement proves that our calls have been heard loud and clear.