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Google and Meta accused of having entered into an anticompetitive agreement

Google and Meta accused of having entered into an anticompetitive agreement
Google and Meta accused of having entered into an anticompetitive agreement

A coalition of American states led by Texas filed, on Friday January 14, in a New York court a new version of the text of the lawsuits initially launched against Google in December 2020. According to their accusations, the online search giant has sought to drive out competition by manipulating ad auctions – the state-of-the-art system that determines which ads appear on web pages based on an anonymized user profile.

Read also In the United States, Google is the subject of a third complaint in two months

The legal documents revealed on Friday clearly refer to Google bosses Sundar Pichai and Philipp Schindler, as well as Sheryl Sandberg for Facebook, even though her name is crossed out with a thick black line.

“These negotiations resulted in September 2018 in an agreement between Google and Facebook signed by Philipp Schindler, vice president and director of sales and operations of the advertising branch of Google, and Mrs. [nom barré], chief operating officer and member of the board of directors of Facebook, who herself once ran advertising at Google., detail the state prosecutors. “Google CEO Sundar Pichai also personally approved the terms of the agreement”, they add.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers “So far, Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon are doing pretty well”

An email to Mark Zuckerberg

The complaint cites an email from Sheryl Sandberg to Mark Zuckerberg, where she describes the project as “Strategically very important”.

According to the prosecution, Google was concerned that an alternative system for allocating advertising space was being adopted too widely, allowing site publishers to circumvent its commissions. The Californian group would then have convinced its neighbor to form an alliance.

“The non-exclusive agreement with Google and similar agreements we have with other auction platforms have helped increase competition for ad placements”, reacted a spokesperson for Meta. “These professional relationships allow Meta to offer more value to advertisers while compensating publishers fairly: everyone wins”, he continued.

The two tech giants, like Apple and Amazon, are accused of abuse of dominant position by a growing number of authorities in the United States. Google holds 28.6% of the global digital advertising market in 2021, according to the firm eMarketer, just ahead of its neighbor Facebook and its 23.7% share of the cake.

Read also Russian court sentences Google and Meta to fines of 87 million and 23 million euros

The World with AFP

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