Google has agreed to an $8 million settlement in Texas over deceptive ads promoting its Pixel 4 smartphone, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced today.
At issue is Google’s credibility as an advertiser after the tech giant “hired radio DJs to record and broadcast detailed testimonials about their personal experiences with the Pixel 4,” but then ” refused to give the DJs a phone to use,” Paxton said.
The tech giant previously settled claims from the Federal Trade Commission and six other states for approximately $9 million, and Paxton seemed proud that his “settlement recovered $8 million for the State of Only Texas.”
Google did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment, but a company spokesperson previously told TechCrunch that “we take compliance with advertising laws very seriously and have processes designed to help ensure that we comply with those relevant regulation and industry standards.” [Update: Google spokesperson José Castañeda repeated Google’s prior statement to Ars, saying, “We are pleased to resolve this issue.”]
Paxton said that “if Google advertises in Texas, their statements better be true.” He decided to take action to hold Google “accountable for lying to Texans for financial gain,” saying that large companies should not expect “special treatment under the law.”
“Texas will do whatever it takes to protect our citizens and our state economy from false and misleading corporate advertising,” Paxton said.
This isn’t the first time Texas has gone head-to-head with Google. In 2020, Texas joined other states in filing a complaint against Google for allegedly “illegally maintaining monopolies in Internet search and search advertising services” in 2020. That complaint is ongoing, with Google this week -file a memo asking the court to deny the states’ request. to review selected communications of Google employees with its lawyers.
More recently, in 2022, Texas sued Google, “saying that the tech giant unlawfully obtained and used the biometric data of millions of Texans without properly obtaining what they knew.” -an permission to do so,” according to a news release. At the time, Paxton compared Google to a “modern Eye of Sauron.”