Google’s advertising technology is to be probed by EU investigators amid concerns the tech giant could be distorting competition. The European Commission said its latest antitrust investigation will focus on whether the firm has breached competition rules by favouring its own online display advertising technology services over rivals.
Google’s use of data for advertising purposes on websites and apps will also be examined, to determine whether the company unfairly restricts competitor access to such data and reserves it for their own use.
Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s commission’s competition chief and executive vice president for digital, said:
Online advertising services are at the heart of how Google and publishers monetise their online services.
Google collects data to be used for targeted advertising purposes, it sells advertising space and also acts as an online advertising intermediary.
So Google is present at almost all levels of the supply chain for online display advertising.
We are concerned that Google has made it harder for rival online advertising services to compete in the so-called ad tech stack.
Other key areas within Google’s booming advertising business will also be looked at, including ads on YouTube, as well as the tech firm’s planned changes to third party cookies in the Chrome web browser, which many publishers rely on to generate income.
The move follows a number of EU probes into Google’s market dominance in recent years.
In March 2019, the EC issued a €1.49bn (£1.27 bn) fine to Google for imposing restrictive clauses in contracts with third-party websites, preventing rivals from placing their search adverts on these websites.
A Google spokesperson responded:
Thousands of European businesses use our advertising products to reach new customers and fund their websites every single day.
They choose them because they’re competitive and effective.
We will continue to engage constructively with the European Commission to answer their questions and demonstrate the benefits of our products to European businesses and consumers.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?