The UK Competition Authority (CMA) has opened an investigation into Google’s online advertising practices, raising concerns about a possible abuse of a dominant position that could harm access to information for Britons . This is the second investigation opened by the CMA on Google and its parent company Alphabet after that on a possible illicit agreement of the internet giant with Meta, the parent company of Facebook.
“Google already enjoys strong positions at many levels of ad technology“digital”and charges fees to both publishers and advertisers“Explains the CMA in a press release Thursday.
The CMA will in particular assess whetherGoogle’s practices“in technologies for the sale of online advertising space”distort the competition», for example in «limiting the interoperability of its ad exchanges or tying these services together, which would complicate rival offers“. Britain’s competition watchdog is also concerned that Google may have “used its ad publishing server” for “favor its own exchanges, while taking steps to crowd out rival services“.
In 2019, UK advertisers spent around £1.8 billion on online advertisements, a market “importantbecause it enables millions of Britons to have access towebsites [d’information] who depend on advertising revenue to offer free high-quality content“, explains the CMA in the press release. “Weakened competition can reduce the advertising revenues of press publishers, who could be forced to compromise the quality of their content to reduce their costs or to make them chargeable“, Details the CMA.
“It can also increase costs for advertisers which are then passed on to the prices of goods and services“, she adds. The European Commission and the CMA have already announced in March to investigate the agreement concluded in 2018 between Google and Meta in online advertising, suspected of offering them an illegal monopoly.
This agreement, dubbedJedi Blue“, has already been in the sights of American justice since 2020. The CMA “also monitors compliance with Google’s commitmentsconcerning the confidentiality of its users’ data (policy known as “privacy sandbox”) following promises from the tech giant made in February.
The CMA feared that changes in the management policy of data on the navigation of its users, traced by cookies, planned on the Chrome browser of the American technology giant, would strengthen its dominance in online advertisements. Finally, the CMA reminds Thursday that a bill must give it more powers to manage the behavior of technology giants.