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UK questions Microsoft, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok over scam ads

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·2-min read
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Microsoft, along with Twitter, Snapchat and Tiktok must tell the UK government how much the FCA has paid them in the last three years to warn users about unauthorised advertisements. Photo: Getty Images
Microsoft, along with Twitter, Snapchat and Tiktok must tell the UK government how much the FCA has paid them in the last three years to warn users about unauthorised advertisements. Photo: Getty Images

The UK government has asked Microsoft (MSFT), Twitter (TWTR), Snapchat (SNAP) and TikTok to provide more information on how they protect their users from falling victim to scams which can “ruin people’s lives”.

The chair of the Treasury Committee, Mel Stride, has asked the four companies if firms advertising investment opportunities on their platforms must be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

He also wants to know about the revenue received from such advertising and what policies are in place to compensate users who fall victim to fraudulent content.

The committee has already grilled Google (GOOGL), eBay (EBAY), Facebook (FB), and Amazon (AMZN) as part of an inquiry into economic crime.

“Online platforms have changed the way we live, work and socialise. However, it’s clear that fraud is rapidly rising and ruining people’s lives,” said Stride.

“Scammers seem to act with impunity online and their actions can have devastating consequences.”

He added that it is “imperative that the government takes further action in this area".

"We have long suggested that including fraudulent advertisements within the scope of the Online Safety Bill would be a good place to start. Without coordinated action, I fear many more people will sadly fall victim to these scammers.”

Read more: Tech firms asked to clarify fraud and scam prevention controls

The committee also wants to know how much the FCA paid the tech giants in the last three years to warn users about unauthorised advertisements and user-generated content, and if their advertising policy requires firms to show that they are authorised by the FCA.

The four companies likely have until the end of the month to respond.

In its earlier response, Amazon said it invested over $700m (£520m) to protect users from fraud and abuse, while eBay said it invests heavily in creating a safe marketplace for its buyers and sellers with multiple teams engaged in its trust and safety efforts, including its security and risk teams as well as its IP and legal teams.

Google said that in order to support the FCA, it has offered to provide a $3m ads credit to them to help amplify their message to protect consumers from scams.

Watch: How do influencers make money from TikTok?

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