Nike and Amazon advertise on Covid conspiracy sites – The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (en-GB)
The most common were for Amazon Pharmacy, the pharmacy of the online retail giant, which has itself become a major player in digital advertising. Ads for Amazon Pharmacy accounted for over 1% of the 42,000 recorded by crawlers and were found on more than 30 disinformation sites.
The next most featured advertisers were PC maker Lenovo, which appeared on 11 sites, and US bank Discover. Ads for UK-based auctioneer Sotheby’s, Honda, US drugstore chain Walgreens and eBay were also among those recorded on several fake news sites.
Google did not directly address the presence of ads showing on sites identified by the Bureau, but said it took appropriate action against sites that violated its disinformation policies, including preventing publishers from earning money. money from specific pages or their entire sites, as a result of repeated violations.
“Protecting consumers and credible businesses operating on our platforms is a priority for us,” a Google spokesperson told the office.
Companies that place advertisements on behalf of brands and other organizations often promote “brand security” systems and services that should prevent them from appearing on sites promoting unsavory content. Other companies working in the region specialize in complementary services designed to provide an additional layer of protection. The Bureau’s investigation suggests that these systems are not working as well as they claim.
Of all the organizations the Bureau contacted about their advertisements appearing on disinformation sites, only the Department of Veterans Affairs said it knew which sites its advertisements appeared on.
A spokesperson for Ted Baker said, “The placement of ads is tied to the Google Display Network, which means they are specific to each user. We are working with Google to examine this issue.
Fou, the independent ad fraud researcher, says the industry has traditionally defended itself by claiming that only a fraction of the advertising dollars can mistakenly go to unsafe content sources on the web. But the sheer size of the online advertising market means that even a tiny fraction of total spending equates to “big money for the bad guys.”