WASHINGTON – Google, a unit of Alphabet, has agreed to pay US$8 million (S$10.7 million) to settle claims it used deceptive advertisements to promote the Pixel 4 smartphone, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced on Friday.
The search and advertising giant, which also makes Android smartphone software and owns YouTube, has been scrutinised for antitrust and consumer protection infractions by both the federal government and state attorneys general. The federal government has filed two antitrust lawsuits.
In this instance, Paxton’s office alleged that Google hired radio announcers to give testimonials about the Pixel 4 even though the company had refused to allow them to use one of the phones.
“If Google is going to advertise in Texas, their statements better be true,” Paxton said in a statement. “In this case, the company made statements that were blatantly false, and our settlement holds Google accountable for lying to Texans for financial gain.”
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment. REUTERS