Scams  

Online safety bill could not stop scam ads, says Google

On why these firms don’t share data with each other, Allison Lucas, Facebook’s content policy director, said: “The concern that we would have would be privacy. So anything that we can share in a private, safe way we would do so through the online steering group.”

Knight hit back: “So you’re more concerned about their privacy than people being robbed of their life savings?”

He added: “I can't see why, frankly, it isn't beholden on you to actually put in place systems in order to flag across platforms. 

"Because you're asking us not to regulate you. Well, therefore, you need to show that you do everything in self regulation. I don't really buy privacy, frankly, as remotely sustainable in this context.”

The committee also asked Google and Facebook about ad spend racked up by the Financial Conduct Authority - to the tune of £600,000 in Google’s case - to warn consumers against harmful ads.

Google and Facebook were quizzed on their progress in reimbursing the UK’s financial watchdog, but neither representative could answer this question so they were asked to write to the committee.

Debbie Barton, financial crime prevention expert at Quilter, said: “With so many politicians and organisations saying exactly the same thing – that the Online Safety Bill must include paid for advertising and cloned websites – the onus was really on the tech companies to explain exactly why this change is unnecessary.

"But what was abundantly clear from the evidence presented to the Treasury Committee is that the tech companies didn’t really have an answer to why advert scams and cloned website scams shouldn’t be included in the bill alongside user-generated content.

“On the day that UK Finance reported a 30 per cent increase in fraud in the UK, consumers across the UK would have been looking for assurances from the tech companies that they are serious about eradicating the threat of online fraud – and working together with other tech companies to share intelligence on known scammers.

"But it’s clear that no such coordination is taking place."

ruby.hinchliffe@ft.com