Search giant Google is looking to clamp down on online financial fraud ads in the U.K. by the end of August, as its mentioned in a blog post. Any financial company that aims to promote its services must be authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Ronan Harris director of the company in U.K. and Ireland highlighted in the blog post “today’s announcement reflects significant progress in delivering a safer experience for users, publishers and advertisers.”
“While we understand that this policy update will impact a range of advertisers in the financial services space, our utmost priority is to keep users safe on our platforms,” he added.
Google’s initiative must be backed up with a law, especially since last year, the FCA warned 1,200 consumers about scams advertised by fake companies through social-media platforms.
The Big Tech company is the first to join a campaign group named “Stop Scams U.K.” promising to allocate $5 million in marketing credits to support public-awareness campaigns.
During 2020 and 2021, FCA paid Google more than $709,500 to run anti-scam adverts, according to the Treasury Committee. Last month, UK MPs said companies such as Google were profiting from online scammers, who paid for adverts on their platforms.
Between 2020 and 2021, Google also made money from regulators, as the FCA paid the popular search engine more than $709,500 to run anti-scam adverts.
Conservative MP and Treasury committee member Anthony Browne said most people had been “absolutely shocked” by the fact that social media companies, particularly Google, “profit from promoting fraud.”
Mark Steward, member of the Executive Committee at the FCA, said “the irony of us having to pay social media to publish warnings about advertising that they are receiving money from is not lost on us.”
UK consumers lost more than $1.6 billion to online financial fraud in 2020, according to figures published by trade group UK Finance last month.
Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey last March called on the U.K. government to create a legal obligation for internet companies to remove financial-fraud websites. He suggested later that this case could be tackled through the Online Harms Bill. Yet, online ads, the main use of scammers, is not clearly mentioned in the legislation.