Google offers $3M ads credit to FCA to protect consumers from scams
Online giants, including Google, have responded to a request by the Chair of the Treasury Committee, Rt. Hon. Mel Stride MP, for the online companies to provide further information on the policies they have put in place to combat economic crime, prevent fraud and protect consumers.
In its letter, Google explains it is investing significantly in measures to prevent scams from taking place on its platform and has worked closely with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) over the last 18 months to do so.
Google says that, in order to support the FCA on the most effective response and their future work in this area, it has offered to provide a $3m ads credit to them, for use on its platform, to help amplify their message to protect consumers from scams.
Google has pledged a further $2m in ads credits to support industry scam awareness campaigns. As pat of this commitment, alongside other tech platforms in the Online Fraud Steering Group, Google has offered credits to support “Take 5”, the scam awareness campaign run by UK Finance.
In June of this year Google publicly announced its decision to introduce new certification requirements for financial services advertisers. To show financial services ads to UK users, advertisers must demonstrate that they have FCA authorisation or qualify for a very limited number of exemptions. Once an advertiser has completed an identity verification process and Google has confirmed their entry on the FCA register Google issues them with a certificate, allowing them to advertise financial services in the UK.
Google adds that it also provides a means by which FCA authorised advertisers can identify the domains of companies whose marketing they approve. Advertisers are unable to advertise financial services in the UK unless they have been issued a certificate or have been deemed exempt under a strict set of criteria.
The updated Google Ads Financial Products and Services policy was published on 30th August, with enforcement taking effect seven days later on 6th September, and applies to all new and existing advertisers wishing to adveetise financial services in the UK.
“It is very much in Google’s business interest to do the right thing. Our business is heavily dependent on the proper functioning of the ad-supported ecosystem and the continued trust of users in that ecosystem. In 2020, globally, we took down 3.1 billion bad ads, including over 123 million ads for violating our financial services policies.”
The company concludes that while not all activity that sits outside the FCA’s regulatory perimeter is necessarily a scam, Google takes the FCA’s standards and feedback very seriously.