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Are you safe online? Which? consumer group exposes scam ads across major online platforms

Scam written on signs

The British consumer rights group, Which?, has found that social media platforms and search engines are littered with scam ads even though the Online Safety Act will require platforms to do more to eradicate them.

At the end of 2023, for the period of two months, Which? checked Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, X, YouTube, Google, and Bing for dodgy ads and came across plenty of instances of them. Which? said that its findings suggest online platforms probably aren’t taking scam adverts as seriously as they should and continue to profit from the misery of their users.

Providing comment on the matter, Which? Director of Policy and Advocacy, Rocio Concha said:

“Most of the major social media platforms and search engines are still failing to protect their users from scam ads, despite forthcoming laws that will force them to tackle the problem.

Ofcom must put a code of conduct in place that puts robust duties on platforms to detect and take down scams using the Online Safety Act. The government needs to make tackling fraud a national priority and appoint a fraud minister who can ensure there is a coordinated pushback against the epidemic of fraud gripping the UK.”

Which?, as a consumer rights group, strongly believes that platforms should be responsible for safeguarding users against fraud rather than the responsibility falling to users. However, it acknowledged there are steps users can take to protect themselves from fraud and recommended visiting the government’s Stop! Think Fraud website.

Which? reached out to various companies, and Microsoft, TikTok, Meta, and Google all responded back, saying they already take extensive measures against scam ads. However, Which? appears adamant they could be doing more.

The enforcement on this matter by Ofcom has not come about just yet, but when it does, these companies could face serious penalties for not protecting their users against fraud and could force them to look into new ways to tackle the issue.

Source: Which?

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