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Tech News: A video ad on a web page that started automatically playing has resulted in the death of a man, who was not expecting to hear someone shouting at him about detergent.

The Bedfordshire coroner’s office returned a verdict of ‘death by surprise advert delivery’ for Jared Harris from Luton – whose family claim he was quietly reading a lengthy article when a video advert embedded at the bottom of the page suddenly started playing, causing him to have a fatal heart attack.

“He was engrossed in reading this article when suddenly the computer started shouting about laundry detergent,” said his wife, Sandra. “He screamed, went completely pale then just dropped dead.”

Experts estimate that nearly 13,000 web users per year ruin their computers, when video ads start playing unexpectedly, causing them to spill tea over the keyboard.

Online advertisers have defended the use of auto-playing video ads. Said one industry spokesman, “We work in advertising. The idea of us having any kind of moral centre is laughable.”

Story: Simon Swatman

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