London FinTech Starling Bank has put Meta on notice and said it was boycotting advertising on Facebook and Instagram due to the number of scammers infiltrating its social media platforms, Starling CEO Anne Boden said in her annual letter.
The unicorn challenger bank that counts Goldman Sachs, Fidelity Management & Research, Qatar Investment Authority, and others among its backers stopped advertising with the social media giant last month. Starling raised over 300 million pounds ($407 million) in 2021 at a valuation of more than 1.1 billion pounds ($1.49 billion).
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“We want to protect our customers and our brand integrity,” Boden said in the letter. “And we can no longer pay to advertise on a platform alongside scammers who are going after the savings of our customers and those of other banks.”
Boden said that the digital bank has been campaigning for Big Tech firms to take a stronger stance against cybercriminals. Google’s move in August to refuse ads related to financial services unless certain proof or exemptions were met is one example Boden pointed to as a positive.
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TechUK, which represents U.K. big tech firms, said last month that Meta, Twitter and Microsoft were on board with instituting safeguards to prevent scammers from placing ads. Meta is expected to roll out a new system this year.
“Facebook (Meta) indicated in December that it will be doing something similar to Google to stop fraudsters advertising on its platform,” Boden said. “We are still waiting to find out when and how this initiative [from TechUK’s Online Fraud Steering Group] will happen.”
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has been unwavering in its concern over fraudsters’ use of social media to advance scams. In 2020, some 1,204 warnings were issued by the FCA about possible scams, up 100% year-on-year, Bloomberg reported.