In the UK, there is a very popular consumer advice website called MoneySavingExpert. Its founder, Martin Lewis, started the website to offer UK consumers independent advice on the best utility deals and how to cut household bills. Since then, both the website and Martin have grown in influence and are considered ‘consumer champions’.
Why is this relevant to Facebook’s scam-busting service? Well, the two are closely entwined. Martin is the key driver behind the new service after his name and image were used on fake Facebook adverts to coax users into investing in questionable schemes.
Martin was taking Facebook to court when he agreed to drop the legal action if Facebook agreed to launch the tool and donate £3m to fund an anti-scam program in partnership with the UK’s citizen advice.
Facebook’s new tool
Facebook users in the UK will now be able to click the three dots in the top corner of every advert to report a scam. On top of the usual options, such as an explanation of why you’re seeing a particular advertisement, users can ‘send a detailed scam report’ after choosing ‘report ad’ and selecting ‘misleading or scam ad’ as the reason. From here, Facebook has employed a specially-trained team to investigate and shut down false advertisements.
The tool – and dedicated team – are unique to the UK but there’s no reason why the service won’t be rolled out elsewhere in the future.
What roles does Citizens Advice UK play?
Citizen’s Advice is the benefactor of the £3m funding and as a result will provide one-to-one help online, on the phone or in person for people worried they’re being scammed and those who have already lost money. It will also undertake scams prevention work to identify, tackle and raise awareness of online scams in the UK.
The advice bureau expects to help up to 20,000 people in the first year of the service.
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