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Govt asks platforms not to carry ads of fraudulent loan apps; seeks swift removal of such apps

New Delhi: The government has directed social media and other online platforms to ensure that they do not host advertisements of fraudulent loan apps, Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said on Wednesday.

Chandrasekhar said the IT ministry has made it clear to platforms that they cannot carry advertisements of fraudulent and illegal loan apps as they are misleading and exploiting people who are using the internet.

“One of the areas we are now cracking down on is advertising of fraudulent loan apps that many platforms are carrying and we have, through yesterday’s advisory, made it clear that no intermediary can carry advertisements of fraudulent loan apps because it will be misleading and exploits people who are using the internet,” the Minister of State for Electronics and IT said on the sidelines of an event.

Concerns are growing over illegal instant loan apps that have come up in recent times. These fraud loan apps — which lend small amounts to desperate borrowers at exorbitantly high interest rates and often resort to harassment, even blackmailing later — are flourishing, and are openly being advertised on online platforms.

In the advisory issued on Tuesday, the IT Ministry directed that “intermediaries and platforms should take additional measures to not permit any advertisements of illegal loan and betting apps having the potential to scam and mislead the users, the consequences of which will be the sole responsibility of the intermediaries and platforms”.

Earlier this month, the government informed Parliament that Google has suspended or removed over 2,500 fraudulent loan apps from its Play Store between April 2021 and July 2022. The government is constantly engaged with the RBI and other regulators and stakeholders concerned to control fraudulent loan apps, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha this month. As part of steps taken to control fraudulent loan apps, she said, the RBI has shared a ‘whitelist’ of legal apps with the Government of India, and this list was shared by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) with Google, whose app store is the primary source of distribution of digital lending apps. Between April 2021 and July 2022, Google also reviewed approximately 3,500 to 4,000 loan lending apps and suspended or removed over 2,500 fraudulent loan apps from its Play Store.

 

This story has been sourced from PTI.

Tags: Governance