NDTV blames spammers for ‘call girl ads’ on their website, admits tech oversight

Hours after OpIndia carried a fact-checking article about claims on social media that NDTV was showing advertisements for ‘call girls’ on their website, the media group has responded and clarified about the matter.

Kawaljit Singh Bedi‏, the CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of NDTV claimed on Twitter that the obscene advertisements, which showed phone numbers to hire call girls in various cities of India, were the result of ‘spammers doing the spamming things’.

However, the NDTV’s CTO agreed that there was an oversight by the media house that allowed such obscene and illegitimate search results pages to be indexed by Google. He claimed to have fixed the problem.

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This is in line with what our report had concluded. We had stated that NDTV was surely not carrying any advertisement or editorial content promoting ‘call girls’, but they were – either deliberately or inadvertently – allowing pages containing such information on their website to get indexed by search engines like Google.

We had further said that only NDTV can clarify whether this was deliberate (to attract more traffic by using even obscene and illegitimate keywords) or an inadvertent step (some oversight while automatically creating such pages). Mr. Bedi has now clarified that it was inadvertent and they have taken steps to fix it.

Mr. Bedi further pointed out that his problem was not unique to NDTV – a fact we had also highlighted in our report.

It should be noted that it will take some time before NDTV’s claim of having fixed the problem will start reflecting in search result pages on their website. As of now, NDTV continues to get some traffic from people searching for call girls online, and NDTV blames spammers for this extra traffic. As per traffic monitoring tools like SimilarWeb, NDTV currently gets over 60% of its overall traffic from search terms.

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