Google Faces Second Probe Into Advertising Practices as Britain Investigates 3 Key Parts of Ad Tech

Britain’s competition regulator on Thursday launched its second probe into the advertising practices of Google, saying the Alphabet-owned search giant could be distorting competition and may have illegally favoured its own services.

The Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) latest probe follows its into Google and Facebook owner-Meta’s “Jedi Blue” agreement earlier this year.

The CMA said on Thursday it was examining three key parts of the ad tech stack chain, services that mediate ad tech, since Google owned the largest provider in each of those components.

“We’re worried that Google may be using its position in ad tech to favour its own services to the detriment of its rivals, of its customers and ultimately of consumers,” said CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli.

A Google spokesperson told Reuters the company would continue to work with the CMA to answer its questions and share the details on how the company’s systems work.

Last year, Britain’s competition regulator opened a formal investigation into Amazon and Alphabet’s Google over concerns the tech giants have not done enough to combat fake reviews on their sites.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it aims to gather further information to determine whether the firms may have broken consumer law by taking insufficient action to protect shoppers from fake reviews.

The move came after an initial CMA investigation, which opened in May 2020, and assessed several platforms’ internal systems and processes for identifying and dealing with fake reviews.

The regulator said it was also concerned that Amazon’s systems had failed adequately to prevent and deter some sellers from manipulating product listings, through for example co-opting positive reviews from other products.

© Thomson Reuters 2022


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