‘Google and Facebook top men knew about illegal advertising market agreement’

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Sixteen states in the United States have accused Google of entering into an agreement with Facebook to give it an edge in the online advertising market. Google says in a response that the charge is inaccurate.

The allegation comes in a lawsuit filed against Google by the state of Texas, which has joined 15 other states, Reuters reported. The charge was originally filed in 2020, but was supplemented with this charge on Friday.

The agreement, called ‘Jedi Blue’, was formed to limit the power of other parties in the advertising market. Other parties in the market wanted to introduce ‘header bidding’ as a new system for purchasing advertisements. Google would have seen that as a threat to its ability to charge a 19 to 22 percent commission on its ads, prompting it to act.

The deal between Google and Facebook would have meant Facebook withdrew its support for header bidding and in return received “information, speed and other benefits” from Google. According to the indictment, even Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg would have been aware of the agreement. The deal would violate antitrust law.

Google says the allegation is “inaccurate” and that the entire indictment is “full of inaccuracies.” The internet giant wants the entire case rejected by the court. Facebook says the agreement “wasn’t just Google” and that “other agreements have actually stimulated competition for advertising space.” Those would have been better for advertisers ‘while publishers are properly compensated’.

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