The publisher of International Business Times and Newsweek reportedly engaged in “fraudulent online traffic practices” that helped secure an online ad buy from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, according to a report released Thursday by ad-fraud researchers and first covered by BuzzFeed News. The report states IBTimes.com’s ads from the CFPB were being seen by a large amount of “cheap junk traffic with a share of bots.” The bureau spent $40 million in contracts to an ad agency called GMMB, and a portion of those funds were then paid to media outlets for ad space. Digital-media measurement company DoubleVerify has also found that IBT’s U.S., U.K., India, and Singapore sites have “fraud or sophisticated invalid traffic.” The parent company of IBT, Newsweek Media Group, denied any fraud to BuzzFeed News.
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