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Australian court holds Google responsible for misleading search ads

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In a turnaround from a lower court ruling, three Australian Federal Court judges ruled yesterday that Google was responsible for its advertisers' content and that it breached the country's trade law by hosting misleading ads. The case centered on four ads in particular, in which the advertisers used the names of their competitors to ensure the ads appeared in search results for said companies. That, the court ruled, was likely to mislead folks searching for those competitors. While there's no fine imposed on Google with that judgement, the judges are asking Google to change its practices and to pay court costs. The ruling also, of course, sets quite a precedent if it is upheld. Not surprisingly, Google disagrees with the judges' decision, noting that it believes "advertisers should be responsible for the ads they create on the AdWords platform," and that it's now considering its options (including an appeal to the High Court).

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