Ten state attorney generals in the United States have accused Google of illegally abusing the company’s abuse of its monopoly with regards the technology that makes its online ads run. According to the prosecutors, Google overcharge publishers for the ads that they show on the web and elbow out those companies that try to rival it. Furthermore, they claimed that Google has struck a deal with Facebook to lessen their efforts of competing with Google’s ad profits.
The ten states that will be using are Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Texas, Missouri, Utah, South Dakota, North Dakota, Mississippi, and Idaho.
Ken Paxton, the Texas attorney general, described Google’s position in the free market as similar to being the pitcher, batter, and umpire in a baseball game. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. This falls on top of the bipartisan backlash against one of the world’s biggest tech firms.
The latest lawsuit is the first to be done by regulators in the US that focuses on the tools that are connecting buyers of ad spaces with the publishers who sell these. The company’s major profits come from advertisements. The prosecutors demanded financial sanctions and several structural changes but there were no specific details mentioned.
The lawsuit has also scrutinised Google’s operations as a search engine that offers search results and at the same time a broker for ad sales. Google is only one of the tech firms that are in trouble with the regulators. Facebook also faced lawsuits this month from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and across almost all the 50 states for abuse of monopoly.
In the UK and Europe, regulators have announced that new rules will be set to regulate Big Tech. Over time, internet giants have been criticised for their detrimental impact on content publishers and the global media industry. News organisations have been expressing their struggles for survival while tech giants and social network companies have thrived and earned by simply aggregating and reposting news.
The prosecutors who signed the complaint are all Republicans. The complaint is not part of the Justice Department’s case against Google. The department has its own antitrust inquiry into advertising technologies.
Google has set up and been using the system for selling ads online for over a decade. In 2007, Google bought DoubleClick, which offers technology and serves as a marketplace. It was a deal that led to Google’s being criticised for dominance. The company now controls software that has something to do with every step of the ad sales procedure.
Publishers have been contending that Google has been using its dominance to extract a much higher cut for every sale it makes without any contribution to content production. Google’s success is a stark contrast to the closures of newspapers and the shutting down of newsrooms. Just this year, Google said that it will pay publishers over $1 billion for the next three years by implementing a new licensing program.