From 26 June, Carousell & Facebook Must Verify Advertisers & Sellers That Are “Risky”

Have you seen fake ads like this from Facebook?

Image: Facebook

Soon, you might no longer see them as a new code of practise come in effect from 26 June 2024.

Here’s what it is.

From 26 June, Carousell & Facebook Marketplace Must Verify Advertisers & Sellers That Are “Risky”

On 21 June 2024, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in Singapore announced new codes of practice aimed at curbing scams on e-commerce and messaging platforms.

In the Code of Practice for E-Commerce Services, which comes into effect on 26 June 2024, it requires Carousell and Facebook to verify the identities of “risky” sellers and advertisers against government-issued record.

If the number of scams reported on Facebook Marketplace, Facebook advertisements, and Carousell does not drop significantly, MHA will require the companies to verify the identities of all sellers and advertisers by early 2025.

Basically, if Facebook and Carousell didn’t manage to filter out scammers from their platform, everyone who wants to sell or advertise in their platforms will need to verify their identities.

Also, there’s this Code of Practice for Online Communication Services, whereby messaging platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Telegram, and WeChat must take proactive action against suspected scams and malicious cyber activities.

By the end of 2024, these platforms must also implement reasonable verification measures to identify fake accounts run by scammers or bots.

Part of Online Criminal Harms Act (OCHA)

These codes were introduced as part of the Online Criminal Harms Act (OCHA), which came into effect on 1 February 2024. The act aims to target online content used to facilitate scams and malicious cyber activities.

Failure to comply with the codes is a criminal offense under OCHA and may result in fines of up to $1 million.

The introduction of these codes comes as scam cases in Singapore hit a record high in 2023, with 46,563 cases reported, a 46.8% increase from 2022. E-commerce scams were the second most common type of scam in 2023.

Meta apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram accounted for nearly half of the scam cases in 2023, amounting to around $280 million in losses.

In addition, people in Singapore are attractive targets for scammers. Watch this and you’d understand: