“However, the bill is not without its faults. We believe the amendments Pimfa, Which? and our coalition partners have called for - as when we called for fraud to be a priority harm within the online safety bill in the first place - will ensure the bill is more effective in preventing thousands of people suffering at the hands of fraudsters.”
The FCA declined to comment.
The bill has been updated a number of times since the first draft was published in May 2021.
Changes include bringing paid-for scam adverts on social media and search engines into scope, after intense pressure from a coalition of consumer groups, charities and financial services industry bodies.
The bill has also been updated to bring forward the time within which executives would be liable for prosecution.
In the previous draft, executives whose companies fail to co-operate with Ofcom’s information requests could now face prosecution or jail time within two months of the bill becoming law, instead of two years.
The government has also launched a consultation on proposals to tighten the rules for the online advertising industry. This includes tougher rules and sanctions for harmful or misleading adverts, or those for illegal activities such as weapons sales.
Influencers failing to declare they have been paid to promote products on social media platforms could also be subject to stronger penalties.
FTAdviser understands that the the DCMS will be taking a phased approach to bringing duties under the bill into effect.
Ofcom’s initial focus will be on illegal content, so that the most serious harms can be addressed as soon as possible. The first codes of practice are expected to be submitted to the Secretary of State around 12 months after Royal Assent.
After Parliamentary approval the codes will be published and active enforcement of duties concerning illegal content will commence.
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