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Advertising: Fraud

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 73911, tabled on 12 November 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what provisions the Government (a) has and (b) plans to make an assessment of the potential merits of taking forward in (i) the Online Safety Bill and (ii) other legislative proposals to tackle scam advertisements.

Answered on

19 November 2021

The government is working tirelessly with industry, regulators and consumer groups to tackle fraud. We are also considering additional legislative and non-legislative solutions to effectively address the harms posed by all elements of online fraud in a cohesive and robust way.

My Department is considering how online advertising is regulated through its Online Advertising Programme. This work will look at ensuring that standards about the placement and content of advertising are effectively applied and enforced online to reduce consumers’ exposure to harmful or misleading advertising. This work will look at the role advertising can play in enabling online fraud and help inform our future efforts to tackle it. We will be consulting on this issue later this year.

Although paid-for advertising is exempt in the current draft of the Online Safety Bill, some types of advertising will be in scope. This includes posts by influencers and posts by companies on their social media feeds. Companies will therefore need to ensure that these posts do not host illegal content. The Bill is currently undergoing pre-legislative scrutiny and we will consider all recommendations from the Joint Committee when they report.