The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) and seven US states have decided to sue Google over “deceptive” Pixel 4 ads. Both Google and iHeartMedia have been sued, actually, for running the aforementioned ads.
Google & iHeartMedia havae been sued over “deceptive” Pixel 4 ads
These ads were aired between 2019 and 2020, and featured influencers who presented the features phones allegedly didn’t own. It is reported that Google didn’t even supply Pixels before most of these ads were recorded.
It is mentioned that iHeartMedia and 11 other radio networks ran Pixel 4 ads in ten large markets. They were aired about 29,000 times. It is unclear how many people listened to the commercials, of course.
So, what’s the goal here? Well, the FTC wants to bar Google and iHeartMedia from making misleading claims about ownership moving forward. It is also asking the companies to prove their compliance through reports.
The seven states in question are Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, and Texas. They are demanding the firms pay $9.4 million in penalties.
Google did respond to this, via a spokesperson, José Castañeda. He spoke to Engadget and said that the company was “pleased” to address the situation. He also added that Google “took advertising laws seriously”. Castañeda did mention that Google doesn’t see this as a lawsuit, and that the company is settling with six out of seven US states mentioned here.
The FTC said this presented a “blatant disrespect” for truth-in-ads rules
This is not an isolated case, of course. Many other companies have been caught sending out misrepresentative phone ads. As Engadget mentioned, both Huawei and Samsung have been caught advertising DSLR photos as smartphone photos. Celebrities have been caught misrepresenting phones as well, and so on.
The FTC said that this whole affair presented a “blatant disrespect” for truth-in-ads rules. This comes from the FTC’s consumer protection director, Samuel Levine.
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