Digital Advertising Company Settles Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Charges of Deceiving Customers

The company was charged with tracking consumers online and through mobile applications

Digital Advertising Company Settles Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Charges of Deceiving Customers
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December 21, 2016

Turn, a company enabling sellers to target their digital advertisements to consumers, has agreed to a settlement of Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that it deceived consumers.

The agency alleged that Turn deceived customers by tracking them both online and through mobile applications, even after they had opted out of such tracking.

"Turn tracked millions of consumers online and through mobile apps even if they had taken steps to block or limit tracking," said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "The FTC's order will ensure the company honors consumers' privacy choices."

According to the complaint filed by the FTC, the company's privacy policy led consumers to believe that they could block targeted advertising efforts with their web browser's settings for blocking or limiting cookies. In reality, says the agency, Turn used unique identifiers to track millions of Verizon Wireless customers, even after they blocked or deleted cookies.

The FTC also claimed that the company's opt-out mechanism applied solely to mobile browsers and that it did not block tailored ads on mobile applications, as Turn claimed.

Under the terms of the FTC's proposed order, Turn cannot misrepresent how far its online tracking reaches or users' ability to limit or control how the company uses their information. Turn also has to provide an effective opt-out for those customers who do not want their information to be used for targeted advertising. Finally, it also has to put a prominent link on its homepage that will send consumers to a disclosure that explains exactly what information the company collects from them and uses for targeted advertising.