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UK Online Safety Bill: changes made to combat fraud and scams

UK Online Safety Bill: changes made to combat fraud and scams

The government has recently made changes to the UK Online Safety Bill to combat fraud and scams. 


The UK government recently announced changes to its online safety bill. These changes target several facets of online advertising including social media advertising, with the aim of boosting people’s trust and confidence in being online, by improving protection for internet users against fake ads or other potential scams. Platforms like social media sites and search engines will be required to eliminate fraudsters and scammers on their platforms. In addition, social media influencers could face harsher penalties for failing to declare paid advertising when promoting products. Meanwhile, the government has launched a public consultation on its Online Advertising Program (OAP) as well as on wider reform of online advertising regulations. 


The changes made to the UK Online Safety Bill will require social media platforms and search engines to do their part in combating cyber scams.


This major legislative change seeks to keep up to pace with major changes in the online world. As online criminals become more sophisticated in ripping off internet users, the UK government is making efforts to curb these issues. The new UK Online Safety Bill includes a legal duty for social media platforms and search engines to prevent fraudulent paid ads from showing up on their platforms. Security Minister Damian Hinds said “The changes that we are announcing today mean that online and social media companies will have to acknowledge these issues and take robust action to combat the scourge of online fraud, and take more responsibility to protect their users from this high-harm crime. Innocent victims must not be taken advantage of and conned online by fraudsters.” These companies will now be required to put in place proportionate systems and processes to prevent (or to minimise in the case of search engines) the publishing and/or hosting of fraudulent advertising on their platforms and remove them when they are discovered.


The UK government has also launched a consultation for its Online Advertising Programme (OAP).


A twelve week consultation for the Online Advertising Program started in the UK on March 9th, 2022. This program will examine the current regulations, as well as determining whether the current regulators are adequately empowered and funded. The current system is mainly one of self-regulation, overseen by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), however with the rate at which technology has been developing, the scale and complexity of online advertising has morphed into something far more intricate. This program seeks to consider the whole supply chain and what could be done by those within it to combat harmful advertising. In addition it seeks to strengthen the current self-regulation approach or create a new statutory regulator including things such as mandatory codes of conduct, and increased scrutiny throughout the supply chain. This, coupled with the already existing initiatives, like the National Cyber Security Centre aim to continue the fight against online fraud. 


Does your company have all of the mandated safeguards in place to ensure the safety of the personal data you collect or process? Aphaia can help. Aphaia also provides both GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 consultancy services, including data protection impact assessments, and Data Protection Officer outsourcing. We can help your company get on track towards full compliance. Contact us today. 

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