Social media sites and search engines will be forced to stamp out fraudsters and scammers on their platforms as the government strengthens its pioneering internet safety laws.
Under the current draft of the Online Safety Bill, search engines and platforms which host user-generated content, video-sharing or live streaming will have a duty of care to protect users of their services from fraud committed by other users. This includes ‘catfishing’ romance scams and fake stock market tips – posted by people in images, comments or videos.
It will mean companies have to clamp down on ads with unlicensed financial promotions, fraudsters impersonating legitimate businesses and ads for fake companies. It includes ‘boosted’ social media posts by users which they pay to have promoted more widely.
Harmful or misleading adverts, such as those promoting negative body images, and adverts for illegal activities such as weapons sales, could be subject to tougher rules and sanctions. Influencers failing to declare they are being paid to promote products on social media could also be subject to stronger penalties.