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Advertising: Internet

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 1983, tabled on 13 February 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to tackle online advertising of unregulated products.

Answered on

25 February 2020

Advertising in the UK is overseen by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the industry’s independent regulator, which enforces the Advertising Codes. The Codes apply to all media, including broadcast and online. They incorporate all relevant legislation and set standards for accuracy and honesty to which advertisers must adhere, including specific conditions on misleading advertising, causing offence and social responsibility.

The ASA works with online platforms to have non-compliant advertising taken down, and with other partners to take action against those who are engaged in fraudulent advertising.

The ASA also works with other regulators, as appropriate, to ensure that regulation is joined-up and consistent. These include regulators with responsibility for regulated sectors, such as: the Gambling Commission, Financial Conduct Authority, Food Standards Agency, Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, Phone-paid Services Authority and The Portman Group.

Last year the government announced its intention to review how online advertising is regulated in the UK. This programme of work is looking at how well the current regime is equipped to tackle the challenges posed by developments in online advertising in order to ensure that consumers have limited exposure to harmful or misleading advertising. A call for evidence on online advertising was published on 27 January.