The European Commission and the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have launched an investigation into Google and Meta, which the two organizations believe have collaborated to fight competition in online advertising.
The agreement between the two companies, codenamed Jedi Blue, was to offer Meta preferential ways to purchase ad space through Google services that, through its Open Bidding program, would allow third parties to purchase in an auction of ad space on websites, apps and Meta, Through the Audience Network, with the Jedi Blue agreement, the auctions in question have been facilitated to some extent by Google. The alleged agreement was investigated by a similar antitrust investigation launched by the state of Texas against Google, with the goal of Facebook’s participation at the time in the Google Open Bidding program. Google’s open bidding platform is a real exchange where different companies in real time buy impressions on sites or ad spaces.
Andrea Koscelli, chief executive of the CMA, said the organization was “concerned that Google has partnered with Meta to block competitors that provide major online advertising services to publishers,” while European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the commission suspected an agreement between companies. Use only Google services and not competing services.
According to a Google spokesperson, the company, the accusations made by EU and UK antitrust authorities about the Jedi Blue are false because it is a publicly documented and pro-competition agreement, allowing Facebook Audience Network to sign up for Open Bidding with dozens of other companies.
If Google and Meta violate the laws, they could be fined the equivalent of 10 percent of their global revenue.
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