The City regulator has warned it will take legal action against Google and social media companies if they continue to accept advertisements for online financial scams that have flourished during the pandemic.
The Financial Conduct Authority’s head of enforcement, Mark Steward, told the Treasury select committee on Monday that the UK had been blocked until recently from taking action against online platforms that failed to screen financial adverts to make sure they were approved by an FCA-authorised firm or individual.
That was due to the fact that EU rules on financial adverts did not extend to online platforms such as Google. This “exception” effectively allowed scammers to post fraudulent adverts online since they did not need to go through extra checks. But the FCA is now free to crack down on rule breakers, Steward said.
“It’s not immediately apparent whether social media were really aware of what this change actually meant. We’ve made…