Google pay for deceptive ads: Google, a multinational technology conglomerate, has agreed to pay $8 million to settle claims related to the deceptive advertisements it used to promote its Pixel 4 smartphone. Google is a major player in the internet industry and is a subsidiary of Alphabet, a multinational conglomerate that operates in various sectors of technology and innovation. The settlement is related to allegations that Google used misleading advertisements to promote its Pixel 4 smartphone, which violated consumer protection laws. The settlement amount reflects the gravity of the issue and underscores the importance of transparency in advertising practices.

What is the Controvery

In short, Google has settled a lawsuit in the US for $8 million, in which it was accused of using deceptive advertisements to promote its Pixel 4 smartphone. The lawsuit was filed by the Texas Attorney General’s office, which alleged that Google hired radio announcers to talk positively about their experience of using the smartphone, without disclosing that they were being paid to do so. The controversy centers around the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) guidelines on endorsements and testimonials in advertising. The FTC requires that any endorsements or testimonials made in advertising must be truthful and not misleading, and that any material connections between endorsers and advertisers must be disclosed. In the case of Google’s Pixel 4 smartphone, the Texas Attorney General’s office alleged that Google hired radio announcers to talk positively about the phone without disclosing that they were being paid to do so. This, the Attorney General’s office claimed, constituted a violation of the FTC’s guidelines. The ads in question were allegedly aired between 2019 and 2020, and the settlement amount of $8 million will be split between Texas and eight other states that were part of the lawsuit. As part of the settlement, Google has agreed to provide training to its employees on the FTC’s guidelines for endorsements and testimonials.

It’s worth noting that this is not the first time that Google has been accused of using deceptive advertising practices. In 2019, the company was fined $170 million by the FTC for violating children’s privacy laws on YouTube. This latest settlement serves as a reminder that companies must be transparent in their advertising practices and disclose any material connections between endorsers and advertisers.

What Google have to say

Google has released a statement in response to the recent settlement in the US, stating that it takes compliance with advertising laws seriously and is pleased to have resolved the issue. However, the tech giant is facing further issues in India, where the competition watchdog has begun an inquiry into Google’s in-app payment service. According to news , the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has initiated an inquiry into Google’s new User Choice Billing (UCB) system after receiving complaints from companies such as Tinder-owner Match Group and Indian startups. The complainants allege that Google’s service fee for in-app payments breaches an earlier antitrust directive and is anti-competitive. The CCI has stated that it believes an inquiry into the matter is necessary. Google’s UCB system allows users to make in-app purchases without leaving the app, and the company charges a fee for this service. The complainants argue that this fee is excessive and that Google is using its dominant market position to stifle competition.

The inquiry is the latest in a series of antitrust investigations into Google’s business practices in India. In 2018, the CCI fined Google $21 million for abusing its dominant market position in online search. Last year, the watchdog launched another investigation into Google’s alleged abuse of its Android operating system to promote its own apps and services. The timing of this latest inquiry is notable, coming just days after Google’s annual developer conference, Google I/O 2023, where the company announced new products such as the Pixel 7a, Pixel Fold, and Pixel Tablet, as well as advancements in artificial intelligence. It remains to be seen how this inquiry will affect Google’s operations in India, a key market for the tech giant.

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