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FCA says Online Safety Bill should cover paid advertising on social media site

FCA says Online Safety Bill should cover paid advertising on social media site

The UK's Financial Conduct Authority has called on the Government to extend the Online Safety Bill to cover paid-for advertising, as well as user-generated content on social media platforms.

In its current form, the Bill attempts to tackle fraud via user generated content on social media sites and dating apps, but make no mention of paid for online adverts from fraudsters and cloned - and therefore fake - investment firm websites.

The FCA's entry to the debate is in line with widespread campaigning by consumer groups and trade bodies over the proliferation of scam advertising hosted by social media sites.

It follows questions by opposition parties in the House of Commons this week which forced a concession by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson to re-apparaise the Bill as it stands.

The FCA also believes that legislative changes are needed to designate content relating to fraud offences as ‘priority’ illegal content and so require monitoring and preventative action by social media platforms.

Nikhil Rathi, chief executive of the FCA, says: “We see real risks to consumers from outside our remit from both online advertising and from those using exemptions to sell products to ordinary customers. Change is needed and we will continue to push for powers where we need them.”

The watchdog has also outlined other areas where legislative change is needed such as extending the Senior Managers and Certification Regime to payment and e-money firms.

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