This is after the search giant allegedly paid radio personalities and influencers to promote the Pixel 4 series – by pretending to share their experiences with the devices – while they had actually never used them.
“It is common sense that people put more stock in first-hand experiences. Consumers expect radio advertisements to be truthful and transparent about products, not misleading with fake endorsements,” says Massachusetts Attorney General, Maura Healey, in a statement shared by the FTC.
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The tech giant also allegedly paid iHeart Inc over $2.6 million (R44.5 million) and $2 million (R34.3 million) to 11 other radio stations to air nearly 29,000 of these false advertisements on the radio in 2019 and 2020.
The FTC says Google and iHeartMedia recruited and paid influencers to give scripted content on their experiences with the devices.
What the influencers said:
“I’ve been taking studio-like photos of everything…”
“It’s also great at helping me get stuff done, thanks to the new voice-activated Google Assistant that can handle multiple tasks at once.”
FTC wants Google and iHeart Media to pay $9.4 million (R160 million) in penalties and for the state to bar the tech company and iHeart media from creating similar promotional material in the future.
Source: Federal Trade Commission