Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, is facing increasing pressure over its failure to prevent widespread fraud on its platforms. Victims are losing significant amounts of money, with UK households projected to lose £250 million in 2023 alone.
Scams range from investment fraud to smaller purchase scams on bogus online shops advertised on Facebook and Instagram. The WhatsApp "Hi Mum" impersonation scam, where fraudsters pose as family members to solicit money, is particularly distressing. Many victims have struggled to report scams to Meta, receiving automated responses or no reply at all. Banks, consumer groups, and MPs are calling for stronger action, including making tech platforms financially responsible for fraud losses.
The online safety bill aims to require the removal of scam advertisements, but there are no provisions for compensating customers. Meta claims to have systems in place to block scams and conducts awareness campaigns, but critics argue that more needs to be done to protect consumers.