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Robots clicking on ads is still a 'big concern,' chair of advertising giant says

  • Fake clicks on online advertising is also a "waste of money," Maurice Levy, the chairman of Publicis Groupe, said.
  • Facebook and Twitter have been criticized in the past for not dealing with these issues.
  • Levy said the platforms are taking the threat seriously but there is still "a lot to be done."
Jason Alden | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Fake clicks on online advertising remains a "big concern" for the advertising industry, Maurice Levy, the chairman of Publicis Groupe, told CNBC on Monday.

The French company is one of the world's largest advertising firms. Speaking at the World Government Summit in Dubai, Levy discussed what needs to be done to combat robots clicking on advertising.

"The fact that there are still some robots that are clicking instead of some individuals it's a big concern because it's a waste of money and the money of our clients," he said. "So it's extremely important that we can trace who is opening a file, who is clicking and it's not a computer or a robot who is doing that job.

"So as long as we have that situation, we have a suspicion on the quality of the advertising on programmatic and we need to really address that issue in order that there is no waste."

Programmatic advertising is an automated way of buying and selling ads then placing them next to content that appears relevant.

Technology giants have been criticized in the past for not dealing with these issues. Last year, a study claimed that as many as 48 million Twitter accounts were actually bots. Another study alleged that Facebook inflated the number of people that its ads reach.

Levy said, however, that these platforms were taking the fight against bots and fake news seriously, although more work needed to be done.

"They are doing a lot of effort but there are still a lot to be done. They are serious about it so there is no question. They are not lazy and they are not negligent," Levy said.