Friday, January 21, 2022

Facebook and Google accused of ‘secret deal’ to carve up ad empire

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his Google colleague, CEO Sundar Pichai, have reached a secret agreement between the two technology giants to launch a digital advertising market in 2018, according to a new statement from state law enforcement officials. according to the claims made.

Earlier, a group of individuals claimed that the deal was signed by Zuckerberg’s No. 2 Facebook CEO, Cheryl Sandberg, who took to social media after heading Google’s online advertising sales group. state attorney generals.

But according to new unedited court documents, Zuckerberg and Pichai signed a back-room deal in 2018, which guaranteed Meta subsidiary Facebook to offer and win a set percentage of advertising auctions, according to court documents.

The original complaint said that Google had contacted Facebook after the social media company became a strong online advertising competitor in 2017. The two technology behemoths then reached an “illegal agreement” to give Facebook “information, speed and other benefits.” held advertising auctions in exchange for the social network’s renunciation of competitive threats.

A new revised, unedited version of the lawsuit, which was reconsidered on Friday, also highlights how Sandberg helped negotiate the deal before handing it over to Zuckerberg, who approved the deal. Sandberg is said to have called the deal with his boss a “strategically large deal”.

“We are almost ready to sign and we need your consent to move forward,” Sandberg and his team said in an email to Zuckerberg in a complaint.

Although the names of Zuckerberg and Sandberg have been edited, they do not have titles.

“Facebook CEO [REDACTED] He wanted to meet COO [REDACTED] and before its other leaders make a decision, ”the complaint said.

Sandberg, who headed Google’s ad sales group, reportedly mediated the deal before being hired by Facebook.

The September 2018 agreement between Google and Facebook states that it is signed by Sandberg and Google’s senior vice president.

“Google CEO Sundar Pichai also personally signed the terms of the contract,” the court said.

The state will update the original complaint in November. The revised version has many edits. But a federal judge in New York ordered states to overturn most of the edits, saying the disclosure was in the public interest.

The new unedited claim also alleges that Google has been deceiving publishers and advertisers for years about how it evaluates and conducts its advertising auctions, creating covert algorithms that increase prices for buyers, some claims to have reduced revenue for advertisers.

The complaint, citing internal correspondence from Google employees, said Google had also used the extra money it received from similarly increased advertising prices to misrepresent its monopoly. Some Google employees point out that these practices mean using “insider data” to grow a business.

The allegations were made by Attorney Generals of Texas, 14 other states and Puerto Rico, who are suing Google in federal court for antitrust violations. Facebook and its parent company Meta Platforms are not defendants in the lawsuit.

In December 2020, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit accusing Google of using anti-competitive tools to gain an advantage in the digital advertising space.

The post linked to Alphabet-owned Google and Meta Platforms for comment.

Both companies have previously denied Politico that the deal was illegal. A Google spokesman said the claim was “full of uncertainty.”

UKRAINE - 2022/01/08: This picture shows the Google logo on a smartphone.  (Photo by Igor Golovniov / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images)
Both companies insist there is nothing illegal in the deal.

A Google spokesman told Politico that the company plans to file a lawsuit next week to dismiss the lawsuit.

“Although Attorney General Paxton has tried three times to rewrite his complaint, it is still full of uncertainties and has no legal basis,” said Google spokesman Peter Shottenfels.

“Our advertising technologies help websites and apps finance their content and enable small businesses to reach customers around the world.”

“There is strong competition in the online advertising industry, which has reduced advertising technology fees and expanded opportunities for publishers and advertisers.”

Meta Platforms, Inc. also issued a statement defending the deal with Google.

“Meta’s non-exclusive sales agreement with Google and similar agreements with other trading platforms have helped increase competition for ad placement,” said Meta spokesman Christopher Sgro.

“These business relationships allow Meta to give more value to advertisers and fair compensation to publishers, which leads to better results for everyone.”

POLAND - 2022/01/03: In this photo, the Meta logo is displayed on a smartphone with the Facebook logo in the background.  (Photo by LightRocket via Omar Marquez / SOPA Images / Getty Images)
Both Facebook and Google are controlled by regulators who claim to have monopolies in the U.S. and abroad.

The first lawsuit came in December 2020, when the Department of Justice filed its antitrust complaint against Google. The DOJ claims that Google has long violated the law in order to remain an “Internet gateway” and embarrass competitors to sell more online search ads.

Last month, more than 200 newspapers filed lawsuits against Facebook and Google, accusing them of unfairly manipulating the advertising market and embezzling its profits.

Both Facebook and Google face legal challenges from regulators who claim to be too strong in the tech field by having an unfair advantage over other companies.

Earlier this week, the Federal Trade Commission was allowed to file a lawsuit against Facebook after a judge rejected its claim that the company was a monopoly.

In June, New York State, Tennessee, Utah and North Carolina joined forces to file an antitrust lawsuit against Google over its management of the mobile app store.

There are also two technology firms in the spotlight of foreign governments.

Earlier this month, French regulators fined Google and Facebook a total of $ 238 million for violating European privacy laws by not allowing users to deny tracking cookies.

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