As of January 2021, there are over 1,300 false advertising codes in use by US companies, according to a new study.
That’s more than double the number of codes used in the year 2000, which saw 1,020 codes in the wild.
There are also over 100 more than 200,000 false advertising notices and legal notices, according the study by the Public Interest Law Center (PILC).
The report, which analyzed a list of the most common and common violations by the US tech industry, also found that many companies are using false advertising as a means of circumventing online filtering and phishing protections.
PILC and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) both released a report on Monday that found that Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter, and Amazon have all received false advertising bans from the Department of Justice, with Google receiving a whopping $25 million in fines, while Facebook has received $13.4 million.
Pilc also found more than 10,000 non-Google false advertising code citations, with the average fine for a citation being $25,000.
The data comes from the False Advertising Initiative, a coalition of the PILP and the EFF that is working to stop the misuse of false advertising in the US.
“In a lot of ways, this report is a wake-up call to tech companies, but more importantly to consumers and regulators,” EFF Executive Director Corynne McSherry told Fortune.
“It’s time to demand accountability for their use of false and deceptive advertising, and to demand that they stop the abuse of these codes.”
The EFF, which also released the report on Tuesday, called on tech companies to disclose their false advertising policies and stop using them to circumvent online filtering.
“We know that many tech companies use false advertising to bypass filtering and to trick users into doing their bidding.
They don’t do that to their own customers,” McSerry said.
“If we can find out who’s paying for those false ads, we’ll have a much better idea of how many tech giants are doing it to us and how many other people are being hurt by their misuse.”
The False Advertising initiative has also partnered with the Electronic Privacy Information Center to create a database of tech companies that use false ads.
“As we’ve seen in other countries, many of these companies use bogus or misleading ads to trick people into clicking on dubious offers,” McSAher said.
She added that the group has received hundreds of complaints from consumers who have had their accounts suspended and their accounts canceled by tech companies.
“Some of these false advertising scams have been spreading like wildfire on social media, where millions of people have been duped into clicking through bogus ads,” McShea said.
The EFF and PILCs report found that nearly one in 10 false advertising violations in the country has been linked to Facebook, which is often the target of false ad campaigns from both companies and the public.
Facebook’s false advertising has been reported in more than 50 different states and more than 80 countries, according PILc’s report.
“False advertising is an increasingly common tactic used by corporations to deceive consumers, particularly in countries where the government is unable to police them,” Mc Sherry said.
“[Companies] use deceptive advertising to circumvent anti-fraud laws, as well as the ability of governments to protect consumers.”