Regulator tells Meta to do more to stop investment scam ads

Investment scam ads

The head of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has warned Meta that it must take greater action to combat investment scam ads on its social media platform Facebook.

FCA head Nikhil Rathi called out both Meta and Twitter for allowing unregulated investment scam adverts to be shown to users on social media, increasing the risk of fraudulent activity.

“Following our public intervention, Google changed policy to only permit FCA-registered firms to advertise financial promotions with them,” Rathi wrote in The Telegraph.

“We now expect commitments from Meta, Twitter and others to be turned into clear timetables for action.”

Greater regulation of social media platforms is a major aspect of the heavily debated Online Safety Bill, which was recently introduced in Parliament.

The bill is designed to give UK regulators more control over the actions of Big Tech firms.

A spokesperson from Meta responded to Rathi’s comments, saying: “Meta has committed to introducing a new onboarding process this year which will require UK regulated financial services to be authorised by the FCA prior to serving financial services adverts on our platforms.”

Meta was also recently criticised by the child protection charity NSPCC. The organisation’s head of child safety online policy, Andy Burrows, spoke out against Meta’s end-to-end encryption plans and how he believes it undermines the safety of children.

“Three years after Meta announced its intention to roll out end-to-end encryption, the company has published a wholly insufficient plan to tackle the child abuse risks that will result if it is fully implemented across their platforms,” Burrows said.

“This limited approach will be likely to lead to more child abuse taking place and less grooming being detected.”

End-to-end encryption, which means only the sender and recipient can view the contents of a message, has been the subject of a fierce debate between those who believe is makes it harder to catch child abusers and those who view scrapping it as a security risk to businesses and consumers.

In January, the UK’s data watchdog has delivered a blow to a government-backed campaign to delay the introduction of end-to-end encryption for private messaging, arguing that it would put “everyone at risk”.