Google And Facebook ‘Failed to Discard Scam Adverts’

Google and Facebook did not remove online scam adverts after fraud victims reported them, in tune with consumer watchdog Which?

Google had failed to remove 34% of the scam adverts reported thereto, compared with 26% at Facebook, the study indicated.

Both companies said they removed fraudulent adverts, which are banned on their platforms.

But Which? said a more proactive approach was needed.

The report also found:

  • 15% of those surveyed had fallen victim to a scam advert and reported it
  • of these, 27% had been on Facebook and 19% on Google
  • 43% of victims did not report the scam to the technology companies

On Facebook, the most important reason people didn’t report the scam was they doubted anything would be done.

On Google, it had been because the victim didn’t skills to report the scam. Which? researchers said Google’s reporting process was complex and unclear.

Warn consumers

“The combination of inaction from online platforms when scam ads are reported, low reporting levels by scam victims and therefore the ease with which advertisers can post new fraudulent adverts even after the first ad has been removed suggests that online platforms got to take a much more proactive approach to stop fraudulent content from reaching potential victims within the first place,” Which? said.

And it’s launched a free scam-alert service to warn consumers of the newest tactics employed by fraudsters.

“There is no doubt that tech giants, regulators, and the government need to go to greater lengths to prevent scams from flourishing,” Adam French, consumer rights expert at Which? said.

“Online platforms must tend a liability to spot, remove and stop fake and fraudulent content on their sites… and therefore the government must act now.”

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