FCA to crack down on fraudulent online advertising; US withdraws ban on TikTok


In today’s ExchangeWire news summary: FCA will take legal action against social media platforms and search engines that serve ads promoting financial scams; the Biden administration repealed executive orders filed by former President Trump attempting to ban TikTok and other Chinese applications in the United States; and French telecoms heavyweight Altice have acquired a 12% stake in BT.

FCA tackles fraudulent advertising

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has is committed to taking digital platforms to court if they continue to display ads promoting scams. The statement follows complaints that not enough is being done to protect internet users against scams, with City of London Police and consumer protection agency Which? urging the government to expand its newly proposed online security bill to cover fraudulent advertising.

FCA Chief Enforcement Officer Mark Steward told the Treasury Select Committee at a meeting last week that the regulator had been unable to control financial ads on social media and search engines. research because EU rules did not extend to digital platforms. However, the organization is now free to penalize those who run ads promoting fake cryptocurrencies, investment opportunities and other such programs, which have exploded amid the pandemic.

Mr. Steward and MPs criticized the inaction of Google and other online businesses on these fraudulent ads, suggesting that these companies are putting profit before the online safety of consumers. Treasury Committee MP Anthony Browne said, “The legal definition of fraud gains financial advantage through deception. And Google is gaining a financial advantage here, and it is cheating its customers ”.

U.S. withdraws executive orders banning Chinese apps

President Biden will cancel a ban attempt Chinese social media platforms TikTok and WeChat created by the Trump administration. In a statement, the White House said the Commander-in-Chief would withdraw a series of executive orders filed by the former president in an attempt to block US cyberspace applications.

Launched less than a year ago, Trump’s efforts to ban social apps stemmed (apparently) from fears that companies could pose a threat to national security by making U.S. user data available to the Chinese government. Despite the initial chaos unleashed, court challenges saw the courts side with the companies and ban enforcement of orders.

However, the move does not remove TikTok, with the White House confirming that the abridged video app is still under a national security review. The Biden administration is also clearly suspicious of China, asking the US Department of Commerce to assess the risks posed by applications related to the Asian powerhouse in a new executive order regarding data collection and platform targeting practices. shapes.

Altice buys 12% of BT’s capital

The UK division of European telecommunications leader Altice became BT’s largest shareholder after acquire a 12.1% stake in the company. The £ 2bn deal was seen by industry figures as a significant endorsement of the UK pillar’s new strategy.

Altice founder Patrick Drahi gave his backing to BT’s plans to bring super-broadband to 25 million UK homes by 2026. The French billionaire also said he did not have the intention to absorb the company, a promise which, under UK acquisition rules, means Altice will be unable to make an offer for at least the next six months. However, there was a condition in the deal that Altice could request a takeover bid if BT’s board of directors allowed it or if another company made a bid.

“Altice UK has made this important investment in BT as it believes there is an irresistible opportunity to implement one of the most important policies of the UK government, namely the substantial expansion of access to a high network full fiber and gigabit compatible throughput across the UK, ”read part of an official statement from Altice.

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