Antitrust authorities in the European Union and the United Kingdom have launched parallel investigations into a 2018 online display advertising deal between Google and Facebook, adding to a long list of regulatory challenges facing US tech giants.
Alphabet’s unit Google and Facebook, whose parent company is now called Meta, have defended the ‘Jedi Blue’ deal, which the EU says could thwart ad-tech rivals and put publishers at a disadvantage in displaying online ads. line.
So-called header deals allow publishers, such as news providers, to offer ad space to multiple exchanges and networks simultaneously, potentially generating more revenue.
The Jedi Blue deal allows Meta, through its Meta Audience Network, to participate in Google’s Open Bidding program, a competitor to header bidding.
“Google’s competing Open Bidding technology may have been targeted in an effort to weaken it and prevent it from showing ads on publishers’ websites and apps,” EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said on Friday.
While one angle of the EU investigation focuses on the deal, another examines whether Google is abusing its domain, which could mean Facebook bailing out if that turns out to be the case.
“This is a publicly documented pro-competitive agreement that allows Facebook Audience Network (FAN) to participate in our Open Bidding program, along with dozens of other companies,” Google said in response to inquiries.
“Meta’s non-exclusive auction agreement with Google and similar agreements we have with other auction platforms have helped increase competition for ad placements,” Meta said in a statement.
Google, which has already received more than 8 billion euros ($8.8 billion) in antitrust fines from the EU in the past 10 years, and Facebook are under investigation by the bloc’s executive over other issues and could face fines of up to 10 % of your global turnover for breaking their rules.
Britain’s antitrust authority is also investigating the deal, and the EU’s competition watchdog said it intended to cooperate closely with its British counterpart.
Texas and 15 other US states have alleged in an antitrust lawsuit against Google that the deal with Facebook was made as part of its efforts to counter header offers, which publishers wanted to use to earn more revenue through advertising. advertising on their websites.
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