Turkish Advertisement Board Examines Ads Created with AI
As technological advances affect everyday life, the ways the commercial advertising is created and presented to consumers began to change as well. One of the results of this change is the emergence of commercial advertising created with artificial intelligence. On September 13, 2023, Ministry of Commerce informed the public with an announcement that for the first time on the Advertisement Board’s (“Board”) agenda, they had advertisements created using artificial intelligence. The statement reported that the Board reviewed the AI-generated contents that directly or indirectly influence consumers' purchasing decisions, regardless of how they are created or the medium in which they are published.
In this context, at the meeting numbered 337, the Board imposed administrative sanctions after examining the promotions created by the artificial intelligence application called "ChatGPT". While the Board examined if there is objective research for advertisements containing statements that create the perception of superiority over competing products or companies, they have also used artificial intelligence to verify the statements used in the relevant advertisements.
As set out in the decision taken in the Board's meeting with no. 337, the Board found that advertisements and promotions using the expressions such as:
"… is also the Turkey's largest fashion retail brand according to ChatGPT", did not include research results that confirming these statements. Additionally, when the Board asked ChatGPT, the answer was that "I'm sorry, I don't know the exact current situation because my latest data is until 2021. In 2021, ... was one of the largest fashion retailers in Turkey. However, it is important to remember that the fashion industry is an area where competition is changing rapidly. Therefore, I recommend that you check with current sources to obtain the most up-to-date information". As a result, the Board considered that the responses provided in the application were not up to date and accurate and that the promotions in question, which contained expressions suggesting superiority over competing products or companies, were misleading to consumers.
“We asked ChatGPT and got the only right answer! For all your fast, secure and cost-effective logistics operations to any point in the world, meet ... right now", did not include research results confirming these statements. In addition, when the Board asked ChatGPT, the answer was "There are many companies that provide fast, reliable and cost-effective logistics services to any point in the world. It is therefore difficult to single out any one company. Large logistics companies such as DHL, UPS, FedEx, TNT, Maersk, DB Schenker are well known worldwide and have extensive service networks. However, the number of companies offering fast, secure and cost-effective logistics services is quite large and the market may be constantly changing. Therefore, I recommend that you research the websites or resources of local and international logistics service providers to find out the name of the most up-to-date and suitable company". Therefore, the Board considered that the responses provided in the application were not up to date and accurate and that the promotions in question, which contained expressions suggesting superiority over competing products or companies, were misleading to consumers.
"Turkey's most iconic private television channel ... according to ChatGPT, the most popular artificial intelligence based chatbot”, did not include research results confirming the statements made in the advertisement. When the Board asked, ChatGPT provided uncertain answers such as "There can be many different opinions as to the most iconic private television channel among Turkey's television channels". Therefore, the Board considered that the promotions in question were misleading to consumers.
Analysis of the above-mentioned decisions shows that the Board examined the answers provided by artificial intelligence in order to verify the accuracy and reliability of commercial advertisements created by artificial intelligence. Since these AI-generated advertisements cannot be verified even by the same AI program, the Board found these advertisements to breach the principles of accuracy and honesty, and the principles of comparative advertising of the Regulation on Commercial Advertising and Unfair Commercial Practices (“Regulation”.) Additionally, the Board decided the advertisements to be in breach of Article 9 of the Regulation, since the advertisers could not fulfill the burden of proof by not providing any research result obtained by relevant university departments or accredited or independent research, testing and evaluation organizations.
It seems that new types of advertising have entered the Board's agenda, as commercial advertising changes as a result of change in consumer habits. This situation shows that the Board is following recent developments and that the Board’s investigations adapts to the changing conditions.
Authors: Hatice Ekici Tağa, Sümeyye Uçar, Bensu Özdemir