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Google and Facebook Face Collusion Lawsuit over Illegal Ad Deal

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Tech companies and shady business go hand-in-hand, whether it is tax dodging or monopolizing over smaller rivals. However, when it comes to tech sleaze and corruption, Facebook and Google are the best/worst. The latter has faced several issues regarding its practices, while Facebook’s wrap sheet is endless, covering all facets of tech-based deception.

Harsh? I don’t think so. And the latest accusation proves the point. According to an unredacted US court filing, the CEOs of both Google and Facebook personally oversaw an illegal advertising partnership back in 2018.

Yes, that mean Google chief Sundar Pichai and Meta/Facebook leader Mark Zuckerberg personally knew and colluded to work together to control ads. Of course, it comes as no surprise that Zuckerberg would be involved, he is never too far away from these controversies.

It is worth noting that we are the accusation stage here based on court filings from a coalition of US states that was first filed in 2020. According to the jurisdictions, Google and Facebook struck a deal where Facebook would participate and win a fixed percentage of Google Ad auctions.

In other words, it was predetermined that Facebook would win what are essentially supposed to be open auctions. The plaintiffs claim this amounts to an “illegal price-fixing agreement.”

Ad Collusion

Google is the dominant player in online ads, basically controlling the market by because all advertisers want to work on the network. It provides the underpinning software that websites use to get ads from visitors.

The lawsuit alleges Google has been manipulating the market out of concern for “header bidding”, which is a different way of getting ads. Whereas Google uses ad auctioning, header bidding seeks to democratize online ads by giving publishers more control over ad slots on their site. The method comes from a collection of independent advertisers.

Facebook has been increasingly moving into this area, causing concern within Google. To stem Facebook’s push into header bidding in 2017, Google sought out the company as a partner. Citing an email between Zuckerberg and Facebook COO Sherly Sandberg, the executives describe the deal with Google as a “big deal strategically.”

Sandberg then followed up the email asking for Zuckerberg to give approval. “We’re nearly ready to sign and need your approval to move forward.” It is worth noting the names are redacted in the emails but named in the court filing.

Both Google and Facebook have previously denied any wrong doing, but neither company has commented on the latest developments.

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Source Winbuzzer

Juliana Luwoye

The author Juliana Luwoye

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