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Online Safety Bill must provide internet safety for all, including investors

11 May 2021

If you are covering the announcement of the new Online Safety Bill in the Queen’s Speech, please see the following comment from Matt Burton, chief risk officer at Quilter:

“The online world is awash with dubious and downright fraudulent investment propositions, many hosted on search engines and social media sites. It is no stretch to say that savers have faced an investment fraud epidemic, yet there are few protections in place to stop harmful content from appearing.

“It is good to see the government announce their intention to introduce an Online Safety Bill to protect internet users from harm, but now there needs to be a serious conversation on what type of harms are included.

“It would be illogical for a Bill aimed at reducing online harm to exclude anything financial given the scale of investment scams online, so the Bill must give financial harms parity with other social harms.

“For far too long we’ve been playing a game of whack a mole, where the onus has been on diligent individuals and providers identifying scam adverts and reporting them to search engines, the regulator and the police instead of the search engines undertaking basic due diligence to filter out fraudulent adverts in the first place.

“The Online Safety Bill provides the government with the perfect opportunity to require search engines and social media platforms to remove sham investment schemes from their sites quickly, and conduct the necessary due diligence to stop them from appearing in the first place.”

James Ventress

Corporate Affairs Executive