HomeTechnologyMeta put on notice over scam response

Meta put on notice over scam response

Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones has told Meta, parent company of Facebook, that it is “not above the law” when it comes to its role in facilitating online fraud and scams.

Mr Jones says social media services owned by Meta, including Facebook and Instagram, are responsible for around 80 per cent of losses to scams involving social media, and is something of a platform of choice for criminal activity.

He was speaking to reporters while attending the Global Fraud Summit in London, where leaders from 11 countries – including the UK, US, Canada and South Korea – are backing an international framework to tackle scams and other forms of online fraud.

Mr Jones was spruiking Australia’s two-phase approach to tackling online scams, telling the press conference his government’s plans to take on the social media giants are already bearing fruit.

“Whether it’s Australia, whether it’s the UK, or any of the other countries that we’ve met with in the last 24 hours, we were very firm from the Australian point of view: no social media platform is above the law,” he said.

Scam centre

Phase one of the plan was establishing the National Scam Centre (NSC), which has released its latest quarterly report, covering the October-December 2023 period. The data shows Australians reported $82.1 million in losses to scams over the quarter, which is down 43 per cent from the same quarter in 2022, and down 26 per cent on the July to September 2023 quarter.

“How’s it going? You’d have to say well,” Mr Jones told reporters after a question about the effectiveness of the NSC’s efforts.

“So instead of scams moving from doubling from one year to the next, we’ve seen for the first time two consecutive quarters of reduction.”

Phase two of the Albanese government’s plan includes developing mandatory industry codes that impose tough new obligations on banks, telcos, and social media platforms to protect their customers from scams.

Forced to comply

While Australian-based banks and telcos will be forced to comply, it’s a different story for social media companies, most of whom are based outside the reach of Australian law.

Meta-owned companies, in particular, have been resistant to previous attempts at Australian regulation, threatening on many occasions to withdraw Facebook and Instagram services from the country if any restrictions are imposed.

Mia Garlick, Meta regional director of policy, told AdNews the company believes cross-industry collaboration is key to tackling this challenge, rather than hyperfocusing on social media.

She says the majority of scams in Australia are actually perpetrated via text message (33 per cent), phone (29 per cent) or email (22 per cent), compared with just 6 per cent via social networks and online forums.

“Tackling this solution can’t be done by one company or one sector in isolation,” she says.

Anti-scam measures

She says Meta is developing a number of anti-scam measures that it will begin testing soon, including new escalation channels for ‘trusted partners’ such as the financial sector; new advertiser verification; new educational resources including an anti-scam resource hub and new consumer campaigns.

But the Assistant Treasurer is less than impressed with Meta’s efforts, telling reporters he was “frankly disappointed” with the company’s submission to the government’s consultation for the code of practice.

“They say ‘yes this is a big problem but it’s all too hard, we can’t do anything about it’. Give me a break,” Mr Jones said.

“These guys are the biggest technologists in the world, they employ the best information technologists, the best engineers, the best process experts in the world, they are the biggest and the best.

“Don’t tell me they can’t do more.”

Do you find more scams on Facebook compared with other social media? Do you think Meta needs to be held more accountable? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: 10 signs you could be dating an online scammer

Brad Lockyer
Brad Lockyerhttps://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/bradlockyer/
Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.


  1. Facebook withdraw from Australia, now that sounds a good idea.

    “Meta-owned companies, in particular, have been resistant to previous attempts at Australian regulation, threatening on many occasions to withdraw Facebook and Instagram services from the country if any restrictions are imposed.”

  2. I recently was hacked. I battled for 30 minutes with the hacker, changing passwords and removing devices but lost. I notified Facebook security and support immediately as I was aware of the damage the hackers could do. After 9 days, but no response to any emails, Meta gave me my account back. The hitch, I can’t reset the password, I can’t remove the hacker emails, and my Facebook profile is locked to one device. Many more emails and Facebook have not got back to me, including direct emails to Mark Zuckerberg. They just don’t care that people are being impersonated, they are stealing in o don’t people’s money using my name and Meta basically encourages them by not ever responding to people’s emails.

  3. You can’t contact FB. They are a law unto themselves and they don’t accept any communication from users, so you can’t tell them when you have evidence someone is misusing their platform to scam.

    I’d love to see Meta withdraw from Australia. Fantastic solution! I’m sure an Aussie company could come up with rival products and would obey our laws and treat Australians with respect.

  4. I have mixed feelings about this topic. Sure Facebook/Meta, Telcos etc etc should carry some of the responsibility in preventing the criminals from infiltrating their systems, BUT, surely the consumers should be a bit more savvy when using any of these platforms. I am not saying that I am immune to scams but surely some people are simply too trusting or too gullible to recognise when they are being scammed. If I buy on Facebook I always do a check on the company I am purchasing from to confirm if they are legitimate or not. There are lots of company fronts out there that are not and it is clearly visible when doing a search. Just be wary everyone.

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