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Report: LA Utility Paid $200K In Public Funds To Boost Google Results

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A Southern California water utility allegedly paid nearly $200,000 in taxpayer money to boost its profile on Google.

A newly-published report shows officials from the Central Basin Municipal Water District used public funds to buy positive press coverage.

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A screenshot of the fake website set up by the Central Basin Water District. (CBS)

The company paid “News Hawks Review” to post the articles on a professional-looking website that was indexed as a news site by the Web’s most popular search engine, according to the report.

Google has since removed the site from its search index.

Officials from the utility company have not commented on the report.

The Central Basin Municipal Water District serves an estimated 2 million customers across 24 cities and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.

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