Google's ad exchange has been placing advertisements on hundreds of dubious websites that are listed as sanctioned by the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), as per the recent investigation reported by IANS.
Google has been discovered to have placed advertisements on websites that are situated in the sanctioned nations of Russia and Iran, according to the digital marketing analysis organisation Adalytics. Furthermore, YouTube and other third-party websites that are part of the "Google Search Partner network" were shown search adverts by the tech giant in addition to its platform.
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The investigation also discovered that the business was running advertisements on websites with pornographic and illegal content. For example, advertisements for the US Treasury, FBI, and Secret Service were discovered on a website that was sanctioned by Iran and Russia.
"These included websites such as Breitbart.com, sites containing pirated content, hardcore pornographic sites, and hundreds of putative Iranian websites, which may potentially be under US Treasury Office of Foreign Assets (OFAC) sanctions," the report said.
Dan Taylor, Google's vice president of global ads, stated that the company would stick to both its own regulations and the US penalties, but he also hinted at the unreliability of Analytics' earlier reports. Several screenshots showing ads next to objectionable content that violated Google's policy were included in the study.
A number of alcohol brands had mismatched advertising and were shown on children's websites, while other affected brands included Apple, Amazon, BMW, Goldman Sachs, KPMG, Walmart, and Meta. The research claims that the infringing websites contained not only brands but also politicians, such as US Senators Ted Cruz and Amy Klobuchar.
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"For the first time in history, we are confronted with the frightening reality of AI committing crimes. Google's advertising algorithms must be scrutinised. The EU Commission must use its audit powers to demand transparency and responsibility over PMax and other ad bidding algorithms," a member of the European Parliament (MEP) Paul Tang said.