“The inclusion of paid-for advertising in the Online Safety Bill is a vital step in the right direction for stopping fake and fraudulent ads which appear on the world’s biggest platforms and cause severe financial and emotional harm to innocent victims.
“However, we are concerned that the Online Safety Bill does not go far enough to stop the flood of scams on search engines. As the Bill is currently drafted, search engines are subject to weaker provisions than social media firms on tackling paid-for advertising fraud, creating a glaring loophole in protections that scammers will undoubtedly exploit.
“The government must ensure Ofcom has effective legal powers to tackle the issue appropriately with search engines, by amending the Bill to give search engines a clear duty to prevent this type of content from appearing on their sites. It is also crucial that the regulator has enough resources to enforce the Bill’s provisions before it is passed into law.”