Martin Lewis didn’t hold back when he found himself the ear of Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, challenging the MP over what the government is doing to establish a new regulatory framework to tackle harmful online scam adverts.
The Money Saving Expert has long taken big tech to task over such adverts, of which his face has been used in the past.
In 2019 he dropped a lawsuit against Facebook after the social network agreed to create a reporting tool and donate £3 million to Citizens Advice for an anti-scam project, however his work is clearly not over as he spoke with Mr Dowden on Good Morning Britain about the online safety reforms on Friday.
Saying ‘no one has given me proper logic’ about why advertising scams weren’t in the Draft Online Safety Bill, Martin grilled Mr Dowden on the issues of getting rid of EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as the government establishes a new regulatory framework to tackle harmful content online.
Martin claimed we were seeing an ‘epidemic of scams’ in his passionate plea to widen the draft legislation.
He said: ‘We have the government introduce the online safety bill into law, it’s being looked at at the moment, you have [included] in that Bill user-generated scams will be governed… so big tech will be responsible if it’s user-generated.
‘But I cannot for the life of me, as the person whose face is most scammed in this country, […] understand why you have excluded scam adverts, which cost hundreds of millions of pounds, destroy people’s mental health, leave vulnerable people targeted on social media, why you are not making big tech responsible for the advert and you have this arbitrary distinction [if it’s user generated].’
In response, Mr Dowden insisted ‘you can’t do everything with a single piece of legislation’ and said the draft aimed to tackle racism and trolling online.
He went on: ‘I know you make the point very powerfully, you just have to draw the line somewhere. It doesn’t mean we don’t want to address the things you’ve been talking about on advertising, we’re in parallel looking at reforms to online advertising…’
However Martin wasn’t having it.
He hit back, repeating himself several times as the Culture Secretary claimed he couldn’t hear the GMB studio: ‘We face an epidemic of scams, because timing is needed, you’re not looking at advertising in parallel…
‘Let me ask you a question, if I do a user-generated post on social media and pay to promote it, is it now an advert, therefore I’m no longer governed by the Online Safety Bill and I can therefore avoid any of your scrutiny? […]’
Clearly knowing his business, Martin insisted the new reform ‘simply doesn’t work and so many people are being devastated by adverts’ adding: ‘You have an opportunity to knock this on the head quickly.
‘I sued Facebook and managed to get a $3m settlement and a new scam ad button but that wasn’t enough, we need your help and we need it soon – put this in the Bill.’
Viewers were praising the host for the no-holds-barred line of questioning, with one musing: ‘You could almost feel sorry( but I don’t ) for Dowden coming up against someone who knows what they are talking about.’
Responding to the clip, another wrote: ‘In other words “ Martin you just wiped the floor with me and I haven’t a clue why this is not happening “ !!!!’
As many called for Martin to be made a permanent host, another wrote on Twitter: ‘Martin Lewis doing a superior job to his predecessor Piers Morgan.. much more coherent interview style that isn’t shouty! Piers take note! #gmb hire him permanently! Poor Oliver Dowden.’
Good Morning Britain returns 6am Monday on ITV.Credit: Original article published here.