Consumer watchdog Which? has reported that Google and Facebook failed to block adverts for online scams even after victims reported them.
According to the study, Google failed to remove 34% of scam adverts reported, whilst Facebook failed to remove 26%.
Both companies claim to remove adverts for scams from their platforms. However, Which? reports that 15% of those surveyed had fallen victim to a scam advertised via one of the two platforms, and had reported it.
Of those scammed, 43% did not report the scam to either Google or Facebook.
For Facebook, the biggest reason preventing people from reporting a scam was because they didn’t believe action would be taken.
For Google, it was because the victim couldn’t figure out how to report the advert. Google’s reporting process is unclear and complicated, according to Which?.
The watchdog said: “The combination of inaction from online platforms when scam ads are reported, low reporting levels by scam victims and the ease with which advertisers can post new fraudulent adverts even after the original ad has been removed suggests that online platforms need to take a far more proactive approach to prevent fraudulent content from reaching potential victims in the first place.”
A free scam-alert service has been launched by Which? to warn consumers of the latest tactics that fraudsters are employing.
Consumer rights expert at Which?, Adam French, said: “There is no doubt that tech giants, regulators and the government need to go to greater lengths to prevent scams from flourishing.
“Online platforms must be given a legal responsibility to identify, remove and prevent fake and fraudulent content on their sites… and the government needs to act now.”
A spokesperson for Facebook said: "Fraudulent activity is not allowed on Facebook and we have taken action on a number of pages reported to us by Which?”
Google, however, claimed to have restricted over 3.1 billion adverts that violated its policies.
"We're constantly reviewing ads, sites and accounts to ensure they comply with our policies,” the tech giant added.
"We have strict policies that govern the kinds of ads that we allow to run on our platform.
"We enforce those policies vigorously, and if we find ads that are in violation, we remove them.
"We utilise a mix of automated systems and human review to enforce our policies."
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