According to a revised antitrust complaint filed against Google by Texas and 15 other states, the CEOs of Alphabet’s Google and Facebook were aware of a deal to make it part of the online advertising market.
The deal with Facebook, which Google dubbed “J.D. Blue”, was “signed” by Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai while Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was discussing an email thread, he said in his third revised complaint. said.
Google said the complaint’s claim is “not accurate,” and that the complaint itself is “filled with inaccuracies.”
“We intend to file a motion to dismiss next week,” a Google spokesperson said.
Facebook, which has since become Meta Platforms Inc., said in a statement that the deal was not just for Google, and that other agreements have increased competition for ad placements. It said it was better for advertisers “while substantially compensating publishers”.
Facebook has not been named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
The filing said the deal was reportedly done as part of Google’s effort to counter header bidding, which publishers wanted to use to make more money from advertising on their websites.
“Google quickly realized that this innovation substantially jeopardized its exchange’s ability to cut huge demand — 19 to 22 percent — of all advertising transactions,” the filing said.
The filing said its efforts to kill header bidding included striking a deal with Facebook, which supported header bidding.
“Ultimately, Google and Facebook struck a deal executed at the highest level,” the complaint said. “Following the agreement, Facebook will reduce its involvement with header bidding in exchange for giving Facebook information, speed and other benefits.”
As part of the agreement, the two online platforms agreed on how often Facebook would win publishers’ auctions, the filing said.
The filing said Google had other strategies in place, such as using at least three programs to manipulate advertisers and publishers to use Google’s tools to manipulate ad auctions.
The Texas lawsuit, which was joined by other states, was filed in 2020 and alleges that Google used coercive tactics in its efforts to promote its already dominant advertising business and violated antitrust law. broke.
The document filed on Friday is a less modified version of the second revised complaint, originally filed in October 2021.
The lawsuit was one of several that arose out of investigations into online platforms by groups from the federal government and states.
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