badvertising

Felix Salmon

This Pharmacy Ad Suggests “Very, Very Strong Antibiotics” Even When They Won’t Do Any Good

When you’re sick, it makes sense that you want a pill to just make all the symptoms go away, which is probably why some doctors continue to prescribe antibiotics even when they aren’t necessary and may, in fact, cause harm. It probably doesn’t help when a pharmacy perpetuates the myth that we should just take antibiotics whenever we might be sick. [More]

We Dissected This Fake News Site Linking Denzel, Stephen Hawking To Brain-Boosting Pills

We Dissected This Fake News Site Linking Denzel, Stephen Hawking To Brain-Boosting Pills

For years, marketers of sketchy dietary supplements have cooked up fake news websites and used bogus “reporters” to push their product online. But we stumbled on one site that quadruples down on the fiction, attributing utterly made-up endorsements to bona fide stars of stage, screen, sports, and science. [More]

Ad Watchdog Once Again Asks Comcast To Stop Boasting About Having Fastest Internet & In-Home WiFi

Ad Watchdog Once Again Asks Comcast To Stop Boasting About Having Fastest Internet & In-Home WiFi

Last summer, an independent ad industry watchdog group recommended that Comcast put an end to questionable claims that it offers the “fastest internet in America” and the “fastest in-home WiFi,” but the ever-stubborn Comcast refused to abide by that decision and appealed… only to once again be told to just give it up already. [More]

5-Hour Energy Ordered To Pay $4.3 Million For Deceptive Ads

5-Hour Energy Ordered To Pay $4.3 Million For Deceptive Ads

Four months after a Washington state court ruled that the maker of the popular 5-Hour Energy drink had misled consumers into believing that its product was superior to caffeine, the judge has ordered the company to pay a total of $4.3 million. [More]

Alper Çuğun

Uber Ordered To Pay $20 Million For Allegedly Exaggerating Drivers’ Potential Earnings

Popular ride-hailing service Uber has agreed to pay $20 million to close the book on federal charges that it used misleading and exaggerated earnings figures to attract new drivers to work with the company. [More]

Ad Nauseum

Why Is Google Blocking This Ad-Blocker On Chrome?

Ad-blockers might have started out as kind of a weird niche thing for techies and privacy advocates, but they’re now commonplace. Every major browser app lets you run plug-ins or extensions that can banish unsightly, privacy-compromising ads from your sight, and these browsers generally stay out of the escalating war between ad-blocking users and ad-blocker-blocking sites. Yet, the makers of one ad-blocker say Google has thrown their app out of the Chrome store, and disabled the service’s function in Chrome for all users. So what gives? [More]

Amanda Hoffman

FTC Orders Company That Used Verizon ‘Supercookies’ To Disclose Terms, Provide Opt-Out

A couple of years ago, Verizon caught a lot of heat for a very sneaky practice: the company was inserting a unique, permanent piece of code into all the web traffic on your phone, without user consent, so that a third party could track your every digital move for advertising purposes. After a public outcry, Verizon finally stopped, and settled with the FTC… but that third-party remained a loose thread in the story. Until now. [More]

Facebook To Work With Fact-Checkers, Let Users Flag Fake News Stories As “Disputed”

Facebook To Work With Fact-Checkers, Let Users Flag Fake News Stories As “Disputed”

If you’re sick of seeing your friends from high school sharing outrageously untrue news items that are clearly hoaxes, or originally posted on websites with names like “HawtClikzNowAmerica!” or “biznoosclickstore.nz.bike,” you may soon have a new tool to help flag this sort of nonsense. [More]

Mike Mozart

Ad Watchdog: Lowe’s Should Clarify That Major Appliances Sale Excludes Most Brands

An annoyed customer brought a Lowe’s appliance ad to the attention of the National Ad Division, a self-regulation program for advertisers run by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. Their complaint? An ad promoting “20% off appliances $396 or more at Lowe’s” was largely untrue, except for the parts that said “appliances” and “Lowe’s.” [More]

Is It Time To Get Serious About Cracking Down On Stealth Instagram Ads?

Is It Time To Get Serious About Cracking Down On Stealth Instagram Ads?

If you’ve used Instagram, you’re almost certainly familiar with apparently real people touting tummy-flattening tea, an array of subscription boxes, the benefits of some multilevel marketing scheme, or the latest in fashion, beauty, and electronics. If these people are being paid to shill these products, then they have to clearly be flagged as ads. Though the Federal Trade Commission has pledged to get serious about going after advertisers who taint your Instagram feed with these stealth ads, some consumer advocates say the FTC simply isn’t doing enough. [More]

Jason Cook

Study: Students “Easily Duped” By Fake News, Sponsored Content

You might assume that a child raised on online content may be better positioned to tell when news and information is coming from legitimate sources and when that source is a fake or an ad. However, the results of a new study appear to indicate that this always-connected generation is no better equipped to sort fact from fiction online. [More]

Facebook Tweaks Its “Ethnic Affinity” Advertising Feature To Address Discrimination Concerns

Facebook Tweaks Its “Ethnic Affinity” Advertising Feature To Address Discrimination Concerns

After coming under fire for allowing advertisers to use race-related information to exclude entire swaths of Facebook users from seeing an ad, the social media company has decided to tweak this feature to address concerns that it could be used to illegally discriminate against people based on their perceived ethnicity. [More]

Feds Accuse NetSpend Of Misleading Customers About Prepaid Debit Cards

Feds Accuse NetSpend Of Misleading Customers About Prepaid Debit Cards

NetSpend, one of the nation’s largest providers of prepaid debit cards, has been accused of violating federal law for allegedly misleading users into believing that funds loaded onto these cards will be available immediately, while some users say they had to wait weeks or were never able to access their funds. [More]

Ann Fisher

Some Online Publishers Backing Away From Those Fake “Around The Web” Ads

The internet is covered in advertising.* It’s a fact of life. Some of that advertising, though, is a lot better — or at least, less completely sketchy — than other ads fighting for some time with your eyeballs. And since the sketchy stuff may make you think less well of the company running it, some media outlets are quietly disappearing the bars that always seem to end up full of “one weird trick” and bogus “celebrity death” stories. [More]

Facebook Allows Advertisers To Exclude Users Based On “Ethnic Affinity”

Facebook Allows Advertisers To Exclude Users Based On “Ethnic Affinity”

Advertisers have always targeted their marketing to the demographic most likely to be interested in their product, but is there a difference between running an ad that you know will probably mostly be seen by people who fall into just one ethnic group and an ad that actively excludes people outside of that group? [More]

$20 Million Lawsuit Accuses KFC Of Misleading Ads For “Family Fill Up” Meals

$20 Million Lawsuit Accuses KFC Of Misleading Ads For “Family Fill Up” Meals

The ads for KFC’s Family Fill Up meal show an overflowing bucket of fried chicken, but the reality of what you get with your order may not be so bountiful. A KFC customer in New York is suing the fast food chain for $20 million, accusing it of deliberately misleading customers about how much chicken they get with this offer. [More]

jetsetpress

If FTC Can’t Resurrect Lawsuit Over AT&T’s “Unlimited” Data, Telecoms May Be Even More Untouchable

In August, an appeals court threw out the Federal Trade Commission’s lawsuit against AT&T over the way it marketed its “unlimited” data plans (which were anything but unlimited). Now the FTC is taking its case up the legal ladder, making the case that if it’s not allowed to sue AT&T, then all phone and internet providers can more easily get away with deceptive business practices. [More]

5-Hour Energy Loses One Deceptive Advertising Case; Wins Another

5-Hour Energy Loses One Deceptive Advertising Case; Wins Another

More than two years ago, the attorneys general for Washington and Oregon each filed separate (but very similar) deceptive advertising claims against the makers of the popular 5-Hour Energy drinks, alleging that the ads misled consumers into believing that doctors recommend the product, and that the combination of ingredients provides some sort of benefit that is superior to just drinking coffee. In the last few days, judges in both those cases came to very different decisions. [More]