Google has updated the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on the work it has been doing to crack down on scam advertisements.
In a letter to the FCA, Ronan Harris, managing director of Google UK and Ireland, said in July following engagement with the regulator, the search engine introduced verification requirements for financial services advertisers.
These advertisers have since had to provide further information about their business model, services offered and relationships with other brands or third parties.
Harris said following continued engagement with the FCA, Google UK and Ireland introduced a rule in December to give it the right to pause financial services advertiser accounts while they complete the verification process.
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He said the search engine plans to verify the identify of all advertisers and will use this information to generate an in-ad disclosure that shows their name and location when their ads run.
Harris said that the UK has been prioritised for this process, which began in January and while the rollout is gradual and phased, Google UK and Ireland is prioritising areas with the highest impact on user risk.
He said that he is grateful for the City regulator for continuing to share additions to the FCA scam warning list, which highlights websites trying to dupe investors into financial products.
Harris added that although Google UK and Ireland has found that the vast majority of these domains were never live on its platforms, the search engine takes action to prevent ads linking to each of them in the future.
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“Tackling bad actors who seek to defraud consumers is a complex challenge that requires a multifaceted response,” said Ronan Harris, managing director of Google UK and Ireland.
“Our teams are working hard to address these challenges, prioritising efforts that allow us to protect users from these threats at scale. We are grateful to you and your teams for the continued engagement and guidance.
“I hope the progress outlined above demonstrates the value of our collaboration and our commitment to user safety. I look forward to our continued partnership in this space.”
Harris’s letter to the regulator followed a meeting with senior FCA executives, including chairman Charles Randell, chief executive Nikhil Rathi, executive director of enforcement and market oversight Mark Steward and executive director, consumers and competition Sheldon Mills.
In its annual regulatory perimeter report in September, the FCA said that online platform operators like Google should bear “clear legal liability” for the financial promotions on their sites, and it was considering whether it needs greater powers to oversee them.