Monday 7 June 2021 10:34 am

French regulator fines Google €220m over advertising practices

Google has agreed to pay €220m to settle a French investigation over its abuse of power in online advertising.

The French Competition Authority said Google has been unfairly sending business to its advertising server and its online advertising auction house, at an unfair advantage to its rivals.

It came after a complaint lodged by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, French newspaper Le Figaro and Belgian media group Rossel La Voix.

Google has also promised to remedy the situation by improving the interoperability of its Google Ad Manager services for third parties.

“The decision fining Google is particularly significant as it is the first throughout the world to tackle complex algorithmic auction processes used for online display-advertising,” Isabelle de Silva, head of France’s Autorité de la concurrence said.

It comes as part of a wave of antitrust investigations by the French regulator into tech giants like Google, Apple and Facebook. Last week Facebook tried to placate regulators by making commitments.

It came after the socialmedia giant was hit with a two-pronged attack as the UK and EU regulators both opened investigations into alleged monopolistic behaviour over advertising data.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it will examine whether Facebook has gained an unfair advantage over rivals through how it gathers and uses data for classified ads and online dating services.

Meanwhile the European Commission launched a formal probe into whether Facebook violated EU rules by using the data it gathers from advertisers to compete with them in other markets such as classified ads.