Google and Meta end up in the crosshairs of European and British antitrust authorities. The reason is “old”: we talked about it at the end of 2020, when it was rumored that the American antitrust was starting a series of investigations to establish whether Google and Facebook had assumed a dominant position in the online advertising sector, the first, and social media, the second.
Now the entities for the protection of European and English competition are moving with the aim of verify the existence of an agreement which allowed the two of prevent smaller companies from making their way into the online ad market. The European Commission has opened a formal investigation to determine whether the September 2018 online advertising agreement between Google and the then Facebook, now Meta, known as Jedi Bluemay have violated European competition rules.
THE ACCUSATIONS OF THE EU AND THE UNITED KINGDOM
Margrethe Vestagerthe head of digital policy and competition of the European Union, said:
Through the so-called “Jedi Blue” deal between Google and Meta, a competitor for Google’s Open Bidding advertising system may have been targeted to weaken it and ban it from the market. If the investigation were to confirm the allegations, it would mean that competition in the online advertising market, which is already in the hands of a few, would be limited and distorted, and rival advertising systems, publishers and ultimately, consumers.
In the past few hours, the same has also proceeded Competition Market Authority of the United Kingdom. Similar statements by Andrea Coscielli, Chief Executive of the English authority:
We are concerned that Google may have partnered with Meta to stem competition from online advertising. If a company has total control of a certain area, it can make it difficult for startups and small businesses to enter the market, and ultimately can reduce choices for customers. We will carefully examine the behavior of large tech companies.
THE ANSWERS OF META AND GOOGLE
Meta and Google meanwhile have branded them as misleading the investigations launched by Europe and the United Kingdom. Google told Reuters:
The allegations about the deal are false. This is a public and pro-competitive agreement that allows Facebook Audience Network (FAN) to participate in our Open Bidding program, along with dozens of other companies.
Meta’s words, always entrusted to Reuters, have the same tenor. If Europe were to find the culprit of the two big names in technology for practices aimed at limiting competition, they would be fined with penalties of up to 10% of the global annual turnover.