REPORT Sites Ran Malicious Code Used To Commit Ad Fraud
The company said it is conducting an internal investigation “to identify the individuals responsible and will take the necessary action.”
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Newsweek Media Group
The embattled publisher of Newsweek and the International Business Times on Tuesday admitted that three of its websites were running malicious code that experts say is used to commit ad fraud.
Newsweek Media Group issued a press release Tuesday afternoon that said the company “has been alerted to a piece of potential code that disrupted ad tracking and ad viewability. This piece of code affected IBTimes.sg, IBTimes.co.in and IBTimes.co.uk.”
NMG said it is conducting an internal investigation “to identify the individuals responsible and will take the necessary action.”
The admission comes after a BuzzFeed News report last month revealed that investigations by multiple ad technology firms found that several of the publisher’s sites were buying traffic and engaging in ad fraud. At the time the company denied any fraudulent activity.
A source told BuzzFeed News that the sudden admission by NMG may be connected to ongoing reporting by the Wall Street Journal. A recent Journal story revealed new details about an investigation into NMG by the Manhattan District Attorney, including that the DA is now looking into reports of ad fraud.
BuzzFeed News asked NMG if its press release was issued as result of questions from the Journal. “The press release speaks for itself,” said Ken Frydman, CEO of Source Communications, a PR firm recently retained by the company.
The malicious code loaded on NMG’s sites was first discovered by DoubleVerify, a digital media measurement company, last year. The firm previously told BuzzFeed News that as a result of a detailed investigation into NMG properties it classified IBT’s Singapore, India, UK, and US sites “as having fraud or sophisticated invalid traffic.”
DoubleVerify also classified Newsweek’s UK edition as fraudulent, and the company’s chief operating officer, Matt McLaughlin, said that site contained the same malicious code that NMG acknowledged Tuesday. NMG declined to say why its statement did not list Newsweek UK as one of the sites containing the code.
Less than 20 minutes after issuing its press release about malicious code, the company sent another release to announce new appointments and a “strategic investment” in Newsweek, which NMG CEO Dev Pragad called the “the jewel in our crown.”Read More...