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Chair comments on announcement that tech giants will only publish FCA approved adverts

14 December 2021

Commenting on news that major online platforms including Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter will only host advertisements for financial products from companies that are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Rt. Hon. Mel Stride MP, Chair of the Treasury Committee, said:

“It’s reassuring to hear that the online giants are finally taking a positive step in the right direction and stopping fraudulent advertisements from appearing on their sites. For too long these companies have turned a blind eye to the criminality at play behind these scams.

“As a Committee, we have called for the Government include fraudulent adverts in the Online Safety Bill. Legislating against these pernicious scams is the only way to stop ever increasing numbers of people from falling victim to economic crime.”

News that the companies will no longer publish financial adverts from firms which are not authorised by the FCA follows an evidence session on Economic Crime in September with Facebook, Google, Amazon and eBay.

In October, the Committee published letters from the companies on their plans to tackle online fraud. In November, further letters were sent to Microsoft, Twitter, TikTok and Snapchat, requesting details on their plans to combat online scams. The responses were published on 13 December.

The Committee has called for fraudulent advertisements to be included within the scope of the Online Safety Bill on numerous occasions, including in the report on the Financial Conduct Authority’s Regulation of London Capital & Finance and in correspondence to the Prime Minister.

The Committee’s call is supported by the Joint Committee examining the Online Safety Bill, who recommend that fraudulent advertisements are included in the legislation, stating that the exclusion of paid-for advertising from the Bill would “leave service providers with little incentive to remove harmful adverts, and risks encouraging further proliferation of such content”.

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