WordPress.com has been running advertising on our free hosted blogs since 2006. Many bloggers do not know this because despite the fact they ticked the box required to get a free blog, they did not read the ToS. Many also do not read the advertising entry in the support documents after registering their username and blog(s). Also note that as the ads do not display to us when we are logged in, and as many use browsers with ad blockers when logged out, they may not realize they are there at all.
To eliminate all advertising on your free hosted WordPress.com blog you can purchase an annually renewable No-Ads upgrade.