UK government new rules to protect children online

New rules should prevent children from seeing adverts for alcohol and gambling by imposing stricter regulations on social media and online platforms such as Google Ads.

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The UK government is introducing new rules to combat illegal advertisements, influencer scams, and protect children online. These rules will require social media platforms, websites, and advertising display networks to take stronger measures against age-restricted adverts targeting children for products like alcohol or gambling. The aim is to address fraudulent celebrity endorsements, pop-up malware, and promotions for prohibited products such as weapons and drugs.

Currently, there is a self-regulatory system for online advertising overseen by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), but it lacks the power to address illegal harms as effectively as harmful advertising by legitimate businesses. The government plans to introduce statutory regulation to tackle illegal paid-for online adverts and enhance child protection. This new regulation will extend responsibilities to major players across the online advertising supply chain, including ad tech intermediary services and promotional posts by social media influencers.

The government will launch a consultation on the specifics of potential legislation, including the preferred choice for a regulator to oversee the new rules. The task force will gather evidence on illegal advertising and collaborate with industry initiatives to protect children and address harmful practices. The proposed regulations aim to strike a balance between internet safety and supporting innovation in online advertising while ensuring transparency, consumer trust, and industry growth.