Google has been fined 220 million euros (189m pounds) by France’s Autorité de la concurrence, the country’s competition authority, for abusing its advertising power. Other European countries could soon follow suit under strict European advertising rules.
The French competition watchdog said Google has been promoting its own digital advertising services, a detriment to competing businesses.
According to the BBC, the watchdog said it found that Google’s ad management platform for large publishers, Google Ad Manager, favoured the company’s own online ad marketplace, Google AdX. Google stated it would make changes to its advertising business and make it easier for other publishers to use its data and tools.
The US tech giant has agreed to make it easier for publishers to use its data and tools. “We will be testing and developing these changes over the coming months before rolling them out more broadly, including some globally,” the company said.
Google has paid billions of euros in fines
Back in 2019 Google was fined 1.49 billion euros (1.28bn pounds) by the EU for blocking rival online search advertisers in 2019. In 2018 parent company Alphabet was fined 4.34 billion euros (3.9bn pounds) for using its Android mobile operating system to block rivals.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said: “The practices put in place by Google to favour its own advertising technologies have affected press groups, whose business model is heavily dependent on ad revenues. These are serious practices and they have been rightly sanctioned.”
The investigation began into Google’s practises began in 2019 following a joint complaint from News Corp, French news publishing group Le Figaro and Belgian press group Rossel.
“While we believe we offer valuable services and compete on the merits, we are committed to working proactively with regulators everywhere to make improvements to our products,” said Maria Gomri, legal director, Google France.