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Zulfi Meerza outlines some of the Online Safety Bill’s weak points

Author: Zulfi Meerza  1 September 2022

Zulfi Meerza’s opinion on the Online Safety Bill was sought by Law360.

With the Bill set to return to Parliament, Law360 asked Zulfi if its measures were strong enough to reduce the amount of online fraud. While the Bill will compel huge internet companies such as Twitter and Google to stop fraudulent investment adverts, there has been criticism that it does not go far enough to tackle those who carry out online fraud.

Zulfi highlighted the fact that the smaller user-to-user websites that host adverts do not appear to have been covered by the duty to stop fraudulent advertising that will apply to social media groups and search engines. He added that the Bill should require such service providers to stop fraudulent financial advertising. Alternatively, the Bill could include such activity in its interpretation of illegal or harmful content, for which every service provider must already conduct a risk assessment.

Zulfi also emphasised that many social media platforms lack appropriate verification procedures, which makes their users vulnerable to fraud. According to him, using biometrics such as facial recognition could help social media companies properly identify people attempting to create an account or pay to place an advert, and thus make it more difficult for them to perpetrate fraud

Zulfi also said that the Bill’s requirement for large social media companies and search services to “swiftly" remove fraudulent advertising was too vague, as it gives no precise timescale.

Zulfi's comments can be read on Law360. (Subscription required)

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Zulfi Meerza

Senior Associate Solicitor

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Zulfi’s in-depth expertise in business crime investigations and serious regulatory matters makes him a logical choice to advise and represent corporates, board members, senior business figures and high net worth individuals throughout the life of a case.

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