With this amendment, the government is looking to weed out online fraudsters and scammers from the online ad scene.
The amended Online Safety Bill has broadened its ambit to include paid-for advertising scammers. Based on the draft of this bill, search engines and platforms including Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have a “duty of care to protect users of their services from fraud committed by other users”. In this draft, “users” is the operative word.
The government is also adding a new duty to the bill to focus on fraudulent paid ads on social and search. The platform or an advertising intermediary will control this. The social companies will need to work on their systems and processes to prevent or minimise the publication and/or hosting of fraudulent advertising on their services and remove them when informed.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Home Office also launched a public consultation to overhaul how online advertising is regulated in the UK. Regulator Ofcom will set out more details regarding the new duty codes of practice. They will also have the power to impose fines of up to £18m, or 10% of annual turnover, for platforms that violate the bill.
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