Texas attorney general Ken Paxton Wednesday filed a lawsuit against tech giant Google for engaging in false and misleading advertising practices in violation of Texas law.
The lawsuit alleges that in October 2019, Google hired iHeartMedia, the single largest owner of radio stations in the U.S., to have some of its media personalities record advertisements for the Pixel 4 smartphone, which were subsequently aired in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston markets. The advertisements featured scripts detailing how the Pixel 4 had personally impacted the media personalities.
However, the Pixel 4 had not been released on the market yet, and none of the media personalities recording the advertisements actually possessed one. iHeartMedia requested that Google provide sample Pixel 4s for the personalities to use. According to the complaint, Google refused to provide samples and had the advertisements recorded anyway.
The attorney general’s office argues that this amounts to false advertising under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices—Consumer Protection Act. The lawsuit seeks an injunction against Google preventing it from engaging in deceptive practices in the future, as well as fines not to exceed $10,000 per violation of the Act.
“This is not the first time I have had to address bad behavior by Big Tech companies,” attorney general Paxton said. “They are not above the law, and I will make sure they are held accountable for their misleading business practices.”