There is a strong case for the Government to reconsider this decision. Instead, the Online Safety Bill should include measures that prevent criminals from using online platforms to steal money from users, and stop their use in recruiting users to participate in criminal activity.
Taking this action would incentivise social media companies to remove and block fraudulent accounts and content, as well as spurring them to make greater investment in their human and automatic review systems. It should also lead to the creation of better channels for users and other parties to report scams, for example by cooperating with the payment providers that discover them.
At Lloyds Banking Group, we recognise that protecting our customers from the threat of fraud is a top priority, given its potentially devastating impacts on an individual’s financial resilience and wellbeing. We have invested over £100m in recent years on the latest technology to keep our customers’ money safe.
As a result of the whole banking industry’s significant investment in fraud prevention, around two-thirds of attempted fraud is successfully intercepted. However, most fraudulent activity originates outside the banking system, which means the ability of banks to prevent this fraud is limited.
While we recognise that there is more we can do as an industry, there is also an urgent need to ensure more is done to raise the standards of fraud prevention across the broader economy and protect the public from its consequences. In recent years, there has been particular growth in fraud initiated through social media content and online adverts. The Crime Survey in England and Wales shows that online platforms are the most common way that the perpetrators of fraud scams find and target their victims. In 2019-20, social media featured in more than 39,000 crime reports to Action Fraud.