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UK to launch an Online Fraud Charter with 11 major tech companies including TikTok, Snapchat and YouTube | Politics News

The UK is to launch an Online Fraud Charter with 11 major tech companies in a “world-first” initiative to combat scams, fake adverts and romance fraud.

Home Secretary James Cleverly will host representatives from several leading tech companies – including Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat and YouTube – to sign the pledge to tackle internet fraud on Thursday.

Other firms signing the voluntary agreement include Amazon, eBay, Google, Instagram, LinkedIn, Match Group and Microsoft.

The charter will call on the firms to introduce a number of measures to better protect users, including verifying new advertisers and promptly removing fraudulent content.

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There will also be increased levels of verification on peer-to-peer marketplaces and people using online dating services.

The companies will pledge to implement the measures which apply to their services within six months.

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James Cleverly leaves 10 Downing Street after attending a cabinet meeting 
James Cleverly Pic:AP

It will be backed by a crackdown on illegal adverts and promotions for age-restricted products such as alcohol or gambling which target children.

These steps will be detailed in an action plan published by the Online Advertising Taskforce.

Mr Cleverly, who will announce the charter at Lancaster House, said: “The Online Fraud Charter is a big step forward in our efforts to protect the public from sophisticated, adaptable and highly organised criminals.

“An agreement of this kind has never been done on this scale before and I am exceptionally pleased to see tech firms working with us to turn the tide against fraudsters.

“Our work does not end here – I will continue to ensure we collaborate across government, and with law enforcement and the private sector, to ensure everyone in the UK is better protected from fraud.”

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Each of the tech firms will pledge to work closely with law enforcement including creating direct routes to report suspicious activity.

The government highlighted that fraud accounts for about 40% of all crime in England and Wales, with data from UK Finance showing that almost 80% of authorised pushed payment fraud originating from social media or fake websites.

The news comes as cyber security experts warn that the rise of generative AI tools such as ChatGPT is helping cybercriminals create more convincing and sophisticated scams.

As ChatGPT marks the first anniversary of its launch to the public, a number of experts have said the technology is being leveraged by bad actors online.

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PM hails ‘landmark’ AI agreement

They warn that generative AI tools for text and image creation are making it easier for criminals to create convincing scams, but also that AI is being used to help boost cyber defences.

At the UK’s AI Safety Summit earlier this month, the threat of more sophisticated cyber attacks powered by AI was highlighted as a key risk going forward, with world leaders agreeing to work together on the issue.

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has also highlighted the use of AI to create and spread disinformation as a key threat in years to come, especially around elections.

TikTok vaping adverts that flouted platform’s own rules banned by UK regulator | Science & Tech News

Vaping adverts that appeared on TikTok despite breaking the platform’s own rules have been banned by the UK regulator.

The app‘s community guidelines prohibit the promotion of tobacco products, including vapes and e-cigarettes.

But videos marketing Zovoo, Innofly HK, Vapes Bars, and The Disposable Vape Store all appeared in recent months.

In one for the latter, posted by the account @tdvsbackup, a man stood in front of shelves of e-cigarettes and said “these are new SKE Amare Crystal” and they were “looking really good”.

“Some of the flavours are selling out, so I thought I’d let you guys know,” he added.

The video was one of around 300 posts reported to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA), which has forbidden adverts for e-cigarettes containing nicotine that are not licensed as medicines.

The Disposable Vape Store told the ASA it had seen rival shops running TikTok ads and thought it was allowed, but vowed not to do so again.

In Innofly HK’s case, the account @vanillaspit posted a video of an influencer rapping about its Waka vapes.

The user claimed they were contacted by a company offering to send her vapes.

Innofly HK told the ASA it was taking “all necessary steps” to ensure its marketing practices stuck to the rules, including not posting ads on TikTok.

Vapes Bars also vowed to ensure it would monitor social media for rule-breaking content relating to its brand and ensure such posts were removed.

The ASA said it had found numerous TikTok videos of influencers giving the company’s devices away.

Zovoo was the only firm not to respond to the ASA’s inquiries.

One post promoting its products, from the account @izzialicexo, praised its “long last flavour” and “smooth puff”.

Sky News has contacted Zovoo for comment.

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Sunak on vape ‘enforcement squads’

‘We are taking action’

The ASA said cracking down on vaping ads on social media was a “high priority” and brands would face “targeted enforcement action” if they did not address ongoing problems.

“We know people are concerned about young people vaping and ads for vaping products appearing on social media where they shouldn’t and being likely to appeal or be targeted at under-18s,” it added.

“That’s why we’re taking action, banning ads that break the rules and ensuring they’re removed quickly.”

TikTok pointed Sky News towards its community guidelines, which ban the showing or promoting of the trade of tobacco products, as well as alcohol and drugs.

A spokesperson added: “Our community guidelines make clear that TikTok strictly prohibits content promoting the trade of vaping products, e-cigarettes, or tobacco products. We continue to work with the ASA to ensure advertisers and creators comply with the CAP Code as well as our rules.”

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Could single-use vapes be banned by 2024?

It comes amid calls to ban disposable vapes altogether in the UK on health and environmental grounds.

Local councils have said they are a “hazard” to waste collectors and almost impossible to recycle, while the British Medical Association has described vaping as a “growing epidemic”.

Channel crossings: Facebook and TikTok team up with police to crack down on people smugglers | UK News

Facebook, TikTok and Twitter will team up with UK law enforcement to crack down on posts by people smugglers encouraging migrants to cross the English Channel, the government says.

Rishi Sunak, who has made cutting the number of small boats arriving on UK shores one of his “five pledges”, said the new partnerships with various social media companies will tackle attempts to “lure” people into paying to make the perilous journey.

Group discounts, free spaces for children and offers of false documents are among the posts the prime minister wants removed to help achieve his promise to “stop the boats”.

Nearly 15,000 people have made the dangerous trip across the Dover Strait in small boats so far this year, according to official data compiled and analysed by Sky News.

This is around 15% less than the same time last year, the data suggests.

The voluntary partnership between social media firms and the National Crime Agency will seek to redirect people away from such content in the same way as is used to tackle content promoting extremism or eating disorders.

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Plans to house asylum seekers in tents

Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, as well as TikTok and X, formally known as Twitter, have all signed up to the plans, Downing Street said.

More on Migrant Crossings

It comes as controversy over plans to house asylum seekers on the Bibby Stockholm barge continues.

Mr Sunak said: “To stop the boats, we have to tackle the business model of vile people smugglers at source.

“That means clamping down on their attempts to lure people into making these illegal crossings and profit from putting lives at risk.

“This new commitment from tech firms will see us redouble our efforts to fight back against these criminals, working together to shut down their vile trade.”

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Labour said the action was “too little, too late” and the Liberal Democrats said it amounted to “tinkering around the edges”.

Kicking off a “small boats week” of linked announcements, Number 10 said the “legacy” backlog of asylum applications made before the end of June 2022 has been reduced by a third since December.

But Labour claimed it will take until 2036 to clear the existing backlog for removals of failed asylum seekers, with nearly 40,000 people awaiting removal in the latest figures.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said it was “just deluded” for the Conservatives to “boast about progress on tackling the Tories’ asylum chaos”.

TikTok influencer Mahek Bukhari found guilty of murdering her mother’s lover and friend | UK News

TikTok influencer Mahek Bukhari has been found guilty of murdering her mother’s lover and his friend in a high-speed car chase.

Her mother Ansreen Bukhari was also found guilty of the murders following a trial at Leicester Crown Court.

Saqib Hussain and Mohammed Hashim Ijazuddin, both 21, died when their Skoda “split in two” and caught fire after leaving the A46 dual carriageway near Leicester before hitting a tree in the early hours of 11 February 2022.

Saqib Hussain was having an affair
Saqib Hussain was having an affair with Ansreen Bukhari, the court heard

Just before he died, front-seat passenger Mr Hussain made a 999 call to police claiming Mr Ijazuddin’s silver Skoda Fabia was being “blocked in” and rammed by attackers wearing balaclavas who had been following them in two cars.

In a recording of the call played to Leicester Crown Court, he said: “They’re trying to ram us off the road. Please, I’m begging you, I’m going to die.”

He also said “Oh my God”, before there was a scream and the call cut off at the sound of an impact.

The court heard they were deliberately rammed off the road in an “ambush” after Mr Hussain threatened to use a sex tape to expose his long-running affair with the influencer’s mother.

Mohammed Hashim Ijazuddin was in the passenger seat of Saqib Hussain's car
Mohammed Hashim Ijazuddin was in the car with Mr Hussain when it crashed

Bukhari, 24, and her mother, from Stoke-on-Trent, were both found guilty of two counts of murder following a three-month retrial after the previous jury was discharged last year.

TikTok most popular source for news among teenagers, Ofcom research finds | UK News

TikTok is now the most popular single source of news for teenagers in the UK, according to research by Ofcom.

The media regulator found that the video-sharing app is used by 28% of 12 to 15-year-olds for finding out about current affairs, a higher proportion than any other platform.

YouTube and Instagram are joint second, with both used by 25% of those in the age group for the purpose, according to the regulator’s News Consumption In The UK 2022/23 report.

It comes as the internet increasingly replaces traditional print media as a news source among the general public.

Some 68% of UK adults now use online sources for news, compared with just 26% for physical newspapers, the Ofcom research found.

However TV remains the most popular platform, with 70% of adults tuning in to find out about current events – with the figure rising to 75% when on-demand content is included.

Nic Newman, a senior research associate at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, said that while TikTok has often been seen as a platform for lighter topics rather than “serious” news, events such as the COVID pandemic had changed perceptions.

He said: “COVID was a big change because people were at home and people were talking about COVID on TikTok and people had a bit of time.

“That’s a case of very serious news being carried on TikTok.

“Passions and celebrity news, that’s a big part of what’s going on with the younger people, but there’s also serious news, that’s the wider big shift.”

It comes after a separate study also recently found that TiKTok is growing in popularity as a source for news among young people around the world.

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Across all age groups, Facebook continues to be the most used social media platform for accessing news. However, it is showing signs of decline after reaching only 30% of adults in the last year – down from 35% in 2019, Ofcom said.

In contrast, TikTok has seen a “significant” increase in popularity as a news source and is now used by 10% of adults for the purpose – up from just 1% in 2020.

Despite the rise of TikTok, 45% of 12 to 15-year-olds said they were not interested in the news – with almost half saying they found it “too boring”. A further 16% said they found it “too upsetting”.

The app has also faced growing criticism and concern among western governments in recent years over its alleged links to the Chinese government, leading to the platform being banned on government devices in Australia, Canada, the EU and the UK.

TikTok’s owner, Chinese internet company ByteDance, has denied sharing data with officials in Beijing.

In April the company was fined £12.7m for breaches of data protection law, including using the personal data of children aged under 13 without parental consent.

The Information Commissioner’s Office estimated that around 1.4 million under-13s in the UK were routinely using TikTok – despite its rules stating that you must be 13 or over to create an account.

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TikTok ‘not an independent company’

Ofcom’s research, which included interviews with more than 1,000 young people, also found that 23% of those aged 12 to 15 were most interested in news relating to “sports or sports personalities”.

A further 15% said they were keen to find out about “music news or singers”, while 11% said they wanted to keep up-to-date with the latest on “celebrities or famous people”.

Social media platforms are also among the top news outlets for young people aged 16 to 24, the report found.

Instagram is the most popular single news source, with 44% of the age group using it for that purpose, while 29% said they use TikTok for find out the latest on current affairs.

Only one in 10 said they consumed no news at all, compared with 5% of UK adults overall.

TikTok prankster Mizzy arrested on suspicion of breaching court order issued two days ago | UK News

TikToker Mizzy has been arrested on suspicion of breaching a court order.

Bacari-Bronze O’Garro, 18, known as Mizzy, was issued with a criminal behaviour order and fined hundreds of pounds after entering a home as part of a TikTok “prank” video.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police told Sky News: “On Friday, 26 May, officers arrested an 18-year-old man on suspicion of breach of a Criminal Behaviour Order.

“He has been taken into custody. Enquiries are ongoing.”

The TikTok user was only issued with the two-year criminal behaviour order on Wednesday this week by a judge at Thames Magistrates’ Court.

Under the order, he must not directly or indirectly post videos on social media without the documented consent of the people featured in the content and must not trespass on private property. He was also ordered not to attend the Westfield Centre in Stratford.

TikTok prankster Bacari-Bronze O’Garro fined £200 and and given social media video ban after entering family’s home | UK News

A man has been given a criminal behaviour order and told to pay a total of £365 after invading a family’s house for a TikTok prank.

Bacari-Bronze O’Garro, 18, from Hackney, appeared at Thames Magistrates’ Court in a black hoodie and face mask.

He admitted one count of failing to comply with a community protection notice he was issued with last year.

Prosecutor Varinder Hayre said it stated he should not trespass on private property, but that he’d entered a home on 15 May to film a video.

“He went to the home address of the victim,” she said.

“The door of the property was open. Mr O’Garro walked into the property and immediately walked down the stairs.

“He was stopped by the home owner. He went into the living room. He sat down on the sofa and said ‘Is this where the study group is?'”

Ms Hayre said the owner had asked O’Garro to leave multiple times, causing the family “a lot of distress” and that the mother had believed it was an attempted burglary.

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“It was discovered that he had filmed the entire incident for a TikTok trend about walking into random houses,” she told the court.

Defence solicitor Lee Sergent said O’Garro – known online as Mizzy – had apologised to the family.

He said he’d had an “extremely difficult childhood” and was raised by a single parent.

“He is an intelligent young man and a young man with some potential,” he told the court.

He said O’Garro received Universal Credit and was not in work or education.

Judge Charlotte Crangle issued a two-year criminal behaviour order that states he must not publish social media content without the consent of the people included.

He also mustn’t trespass or go to the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, east London.

O’Garro was fined £200, and told to pay a victim surcharge of £80 and costs of £85.

Teenager charged by police after investigation into TikTok ‘prank’ videos | UK News

An 18-year-old has been charged by police following an investigation into TikTok “prank” videos showing people entering homes in London without permission.

Bacari-Bronze O’Garro was charged on Tuesday evening with failing to comply with a Community Protection Notice.

He will appear in custody at Thames Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Detective Chief Superintendent James Conway, of the Central East Command Unit, responsible for policing in Hackney and Tower Hamlets, said: “Understandably there has been extensive comment on this case in the media and on social media.

“Now that an individual has been charged, I would ask that the judicial process be respected and allowed to take its proper course.”

‘TikTok traffickers’ who use videos to advertise Channel crossings must face criminal action – MP | Politics News

“TikTok traffickers” who use social media to advertise small boat crossings to migrants must face criminal penalties, ministers have been told.

Conservative MP Natalie Elphicke believes the advertising of Channel crossings on networks such as TikTok and Facebook should be recognised as a crime.

Speaking during a Commons debate on the Online Safety Bill, the Dover MP – whose constituency is at the forefront of the UK’s migration crisis – suggested criminalising such online promotions would save lives and help stem the business model of trafficking groups.

Ms Elphicke highlighted the “massive increase in the number of Albanians crossing the Channel in small boats” – and said it had become “easy to find criminal gangs posting in Albanian on TikTok with videos showing cheery migrants with thumbs up on dinghies scooting across the Channel and motoring into Britain with ease”.

People shout at Member of Parliament (MP) for Dover Natalie Elphicke during a protest following an announcement made by P&O Ferries, in Dover, Britain, March 18, 2022. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Natalie Elphicke

Urging the Commons to back her amendment to the bill, she said: “New clause 55 will tackle the TikTok traffickers and help prevent people from risking their lives taking these journeys across the English Channel.”

A group of more than 50 MPs recently wrote to PM Rishi Sunak, urging him to introduce emergency legislation designed to cut small boat crossings.

Ms Elphicke’s amendment would create a new criminal offence of “intentionally sharing a photograph or film that facilitates or promotes modern slavery or illegal immigration”.

It has the support of a group of Tory backbenchers, including former ministers Sir John Hayes and Tim Loughton.

Ms Elphicke told MPs: “Advertising in this context is not done through an advert in the local paper, it is by the posting of a video online and photos online.”

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‘It’s no life here’: Albanians undeterred from seeking a life in the UK

PABest A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, onboard a Border Force vessel following a small boat incident in the Channel. Picture date: Monday November 14, 2022.

She told ministers TikTok, WhatsApp and Facebook had all been identified as platforms actively used by the people smugglers and said “action is needed … to save lives in the Channel”.

Ms Elphicke said her amendment would be a stronger deterrent to traffickers.

She added: “It will make it harder for the people smugglers to sell their wares, it will help to protect people who would be exploited and put at risk by these criminal gangs.

“Risks to life and injury, the risk of modern slavery, risks of being swept into further crime both abroad and here in the UK are very real.

“It is another tool in the toolbox to tackle illegal immigration and prevent modern slavery.”

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Home Secretary Suella Braverman admits migration failure

Culture minister Paul Scully said he would work closely with Ms Elphicke on the legislation’s passage ahead of its consideration in the House of Lords.

“The legislation will give our law enforcement agencies and social media companies the powers and guidance they need to stop the promotion of organised criminal activity on social media.”