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New York gets $1.5M from Google, iHeart Media in false ad case

New York Attorney General Letitia James sits between the American and New York State flags.
New York State Attorney General's Office
New York Attorney General Letitia James addresses the New York State public.

The State Attorney General’s Office joined a coalition of five other states and the Federal Trade Commission for misleading advertisements from Google featuring iHeartMedia radio personalities.

Attorney General Letitia James said in a release that in 2019, the two platforms paid people to record endorsements describing their positive experiences with the Google Pixel 4. However, during this time, the phone had yet to be released, and Google refused to send any phones to radio stations before the ads aired. Radio ads for the phone were played 23,577 times in 10 different media markets across the country.

James said the companies knowingly misled the public.

“False advertising is a fraud against the public," James said in a statement. "Companies big and small have a responsibility to be honest about their products and follow the law, there are no exceptions.

Google and iHeartMedia will pay more than $9.4 million in civil penalties, costs and fees. But only $1,524,621 from Google and $56,767 from iHeartMedia will go to the state of New York.

Corrected: November 30, 2022 at 1:55 PM EST
The headline on an earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the amount of money that the state will receive.
John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.