The UK government has signed what it claims to be a “world-first” charter with some of the biggest technology companies on the planet, which will see the latter commit to blocking and removing fraudulent content from their platforms.
Announced late yesterday, the Online Fraud Charter is a voluntary agreement for technology firms to better police fraud and scam content, including by verifying advertisers and marketplace sellers, improving fraud reporting and enabling dating site users to verify themselves.
The government claimed fraud is now the most common crime in the UK, accounting for 40% of reports in England and Wales, with over three million incidents recorded last year. Banking group UK Finance has claimed that 80% of authorized pushed payment (APP) fraud such as investment or romance scams originate from social media or a fake website.
Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, described an “epidemic of scams” devastating family finances and individuals’ mental health.
“I am pleased at the signing of this voluntary agreement, which is adopting many of the scam ad protection measures we’ve been calling for – such as two-click reporting, and advertiser and site destination verification,” he said.
“We will be watching closely to check these companies work hard, and work together to make good on their promises.”
The companies signed up to the charter are: Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Google, Instagram, LinkedIn, Match Group, Microsoft, Snapchat, TikTok, X (formerly Twitter) and YouTube.
They have pledged to adopt the following measures within six months:
- Detecting and blocking fraudulent content
- Ensuring there’s a quick and easy way to report fraud on their platforms
- Taking down fraudulent content and taking action against fraudulent users “straight away”
- Deploying measures to protect individuals from fraudulent advertising
- Establishing dedicated police liaisons to handle law enforcement requests
- Engaging in intelligence sharing initiatives with industry bodies and companies
- Providing information to users on fraud risks and what’s being done to address them
- Delivering simple anti-fraud tips to users
- Contributing to horizon scanning exercises to stay ahead of the threat
Oz Alashe, founder and CEO of CybSafe, welcomed the agreement as an essential step to fighting surging levels of fraud in the UK.
“This collaboration between the UK government and tech giants is a powerful move. It’s not just about implementing safety measures; it’s about creating a culture of security and vigilance,” he added.
“By working together, we can not only tackle existing threats but also anticipate and prepare for future challenges in the digital landscape.”