Google UK is introducing new restrictions to verify financial services adverts and crack down on fraud.
From 6 September, Google UK will require financial services firms to verify their identity with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) before advertising on the search engine giant.
Advertisers must successfully complete the new verification process by the time this comes into force, including being required to show they are authorised by the FCA to be able to advertise financial services to UK users on Google UK.
“Today’s announcement reflects significant progress in delivering a safer experience for users, publishers and advertisers,” said Ronan Harris, managing director of Google UK.
“While we understand that this policy update will impact a range of advertisers in the financial services space, our utmost priority is to keep users safe on our platforms – particularly in an area targeted by fraudsters.
“We are committed to leading on necessary changes to help fight online scammers.”
An FCA spokesperson said that the City regulator “welcomes all steps which protect consumers from scams” and recognised that this is a “positive move” from Google.
“We will review the detail,” the spokesperson said.
“We want to see continued and concerted efforts by all organisations with an interest in protecting consumers to achieve a sustained reduction in scams.
“It is important that all social media firms ensure that financial promotions using their services comply with UK law, and we expect all social media firms to ensure they are in compliance.
“While this is an important step from Google, we think a permanent and consistent solution requires legislation.
“We also continue to consider that investment fraud caused by online advertising should be included in the scope of the Online Safety Bill and welcome the Treasury committee’s recent statement on this.
“We will assess the outcome of Google’s decision once these changes take effect.”
In May, the FCA said it was talking to social media firms about a law change that makes them more liable for financial promotions, as part of a tougher approach to tackling online investment fraud.
In March, Google UK updated the FCA on its work cracking down on scam advertisements, including requiring advertisers to provide further information about their business model, services offered and relationships with other brands or third parties.