Google, IHeartMedia Get $9.4 Mln Fines Over Deceptive Pixel 4 Ads

googleiheartmedia nov28 lt

The Federal Trade Commission or FTC and several states have sued Google LLC and iHeartMedia, Inc. for deceptive advertisements promoting the Pixel 4 smartphone. The state judgments require the companies to pay $9.4 million in penalties.

The lawsuits were filed by the FTC and attorneys general of states, which reportedly include Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and Texas. According to releases from the states, the companies need to pay $1.58 million to New York, around $1 million to Massachusetts and more than $1.5 million to Illinois.

The proposed FTC orders and the state judgments settling the allegations bar Google and iHeartMedia from similar misrepresentations.

In a statement, the agency accused that Pixel 4 ads featuring radio personalities' made-up testimonials were aired nearly 29,000 times. These influencers, who never used the phone, promoted their use of and experience with Google's Pixel 4 phone in 2019 and 2020. Officials alleged that Google didn't even supply Pixels before most of the ads were recorded.

FTC noted that Google in 2019 hired iHeartMedia, the nation's largest radio station owner, and 11 other radio networks in ten major markets to record and broadcast Pixel 4 phone ads with on-air personalities.

The tech giant allegedly provided iHeartMedia with scripts that included promotional lines about personal usage of the Pixel 4 phone, but those on-air personalities were not provided with those phones before recording and airing the majority of the ads. The agency noted that the on-air personalities did not own or regularly use the phones.

The proposed orders settling the FTC's charges prohibit Google and iHeartMedia from misrepresenting that an endorser has owned or used, or about their experience with, their respective products and services.

The orders also require both companies to distribute the order to certain people, file compliance reports with the Commission, and keep records to allow the FTC to ensure compliance.

For comments and feedback contact: editorial@rttnews.com

Business News

Editors Pick
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission or CPSC announced recall of thousands of children's Robes made in China and sold exclusively on Amazon.com by various companies. The recalled robes fail to meet the federal flammability standards for children's sleepwear, posing a risk of burn injuries to children. Further, citing the same concerns, Paper Cape children's pajamas manufactured in Peru ... Health services company Cigna Corp. reported Friday higher profit in its fourth quarter reflecting growth in both Evernorth and Cigna Healthcare segments. Adjusted earnings and topline beat market estimates. Looking ahead for fiscal 2023, the company projects adjusted earnings and adjusted revenues to be higher than last year, but below market view. French drug major Sanofi SA reported Friday higher profit in its fourth quarter with strong revenue growth mainly with strong sales of Dupixent. Looking ahead for fiscal 2023, the company projects higher business earnings, but the expected growth is slower than recorded in fiscal 2022. Sanofi shares were losing around 4 percent in the morning trading in Paris as well as in pre-market activity...
Follow RTT