AP

States settle with Google, iHeartMedia over misleading ads

Nov 28, 2022, 4:51 PM | Updated: 5:18 pm

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Federal Trade Commission and a handful of states announced settlements Monday with Google and iHeartMedia related to misleading radio advertisements about a Google cellphone.

The settlements stem from complaints alleging Google paid to have radio personalities endorse and talk about their personal experiences using the Pixel 4, one of the company’s cellphones, according to California Attorney General Rob Bonta. At the time, the phone wasn’t available and many of the radio DJs had not used it, Bonta said.

The ads ran more than 23,000 times across 10 media markets, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, Bonta’s office said.

Google will pay $9 million and iHeartMedia will pay $400,000, Bonta’s office said. iHeartMedia is the largest owner of radio stations in the nation. Some smaller radio stations also ran the ads.

“Google tried to take shortcuts in advertising its products, and now it’s paying the price,” Bonta said in a statement. “Asking DJs to share personal experiences about a product they had not used is misleading — and a violation of state consumer protection laws.”

The radio advertisements aired in late 2019 and early 2020.

California’s complaint includes a script given to radio personalities that included first-person language about using the phone’s camera to take photos at night for events like football games and meteor showers, as well as using the phone’s voice activation system.

“These Radio Personalities did not own or regularly use a Pixel 4 and had not used a Pixel 4 to take pictures at night, as indicated in scripts,” according to the complaint.

Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and Texas and the Federal Trade Commission were part of the settlements.

Of the settlement money, California will receive nearly $3 million. The money will be split between the state and Alameda County, where the case was filed, and be used to enforce consumer protection laws, a spokeswoman for Bonta said.

The settlement bars Google from making misrepresentations in endorsements of its products for 20 years. The company will also be required to regularly report to California about its compliance with the settlement.

Google did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment, and iHeartMedia spokesperson Wendy Goldberg declined to comment.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Israeli Embassy...

Associated Press

US airman dies after setting himself ablaze outside Israeli Embassy in Israel-Hamas war protest

An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C.

6 hours ago

Biden and Trump to visit Mexico border Thursday immigration...

Associated Press

Biden and Trump both plan trips to the Mexico border Thursday, dueling for advantage on immigration

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will make dueling trips to the U.S-Mexico border on Thursday.

7 hours ago

Arizona and New York attorneys feud over extraditing suspect...

Associated Press

Why Alvin Bragg and Rachel Mitchell are fighting over extraditing suspect in New York hotel killing

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell says she isn't into extraditing a suspect due to her lack of faith in Manhattan’s top prosecutor.

4 days ago

A Gila monster is displayed at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Dec. 14, 2018. A 34-year-old Color...

Associated Press

Colorado man dies after being bitten by pet Gila monster

A Colorado man has died after being bitten by his pet Gila monster in what would be a rare death by one of the desert lizards if the creature's venom turns out to have been the cause.

5 days ago

Police clear the area following a shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs NFL football Super Bowl celebr...

Associated Press

1 dead, many wounded after shooting at Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade

One person died after 22 people were hit by gunfire in a shooting at the end of the Kansas Chiefs' Super Bowl victory celebration Wednesday.

12 days ago

This image from House Television shows House Speaker Mike Johnson of La., banging the gavel after h...

Associated Press

GOP-led House impeaches Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas — by one vote — over border management

Having failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas the first time, House Republicans are determined to try again Tuesday.

13 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

States settle with Google, iHeartMedia over misleading ads