As the buying and selling of digital advertising has grown more automated, the industry has grappled with various forms of fraud.
For example, scam artists have built networks of bogus websites, where they sell ads and use computer programs—or “bots”—to make it look as though these sites are regularly visited by humans. In other cases, fraudsters have used software to hijack people’s computers and direct web traffic to suspect sites loaded with ads.
Two senators noted that the ad industry has undertaken various efforts to stamp out fraud but questioned whether self-regulation will go far enough. “It remains to be seen whether voluntary, market-based oversight is sufficient to protect consumers and advertisers from digital advertising fraud,” the letter said.