Companies: Misrepresentation

Department for Business and Trade written question – answered on 5 June 2023.

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Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Labour, Leeds Central

To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, if she will make an assessment of the effectiveness of mechanisms to enable companies to remove (a) potentially defamatory reviews and (b) threatening comments from online review sites.

Photo of Kevin Hollinrake Kevin Hollinrake Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)

The government introduced in Parliament the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers (DMCC) Bill on 25 April which includes a delegated power to amend a list of automatically unfair practices set out in the Bill.

Government plans to address fake and misleading reviews by adding these practices to that list of banned practices, following consultation this year. This will give greater clarity to business and consumers and, where fake reviews or misleading reviews are posted, allow enforcers to take effective action quickly.

The threatening communications offence in the Online Safety Bill, will capture communications which convey a serious threat of harm to a likely audience.

This includes communications such as a threat to life, rape, or serious injury; or causing serious financial harm.

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