The antitrust authorities of the European Commission and the United Kingdom have launched a new investigation by Google and Meta. The reason is the agreement of both companies in the field of internet advertising called Jedi Blue, the authorities want to find out if it does not violate competition rules.
The Jedi Blue was founded in 2018, in which Google and Meta agreed on specific conditions for online advertising auctions. In particular, Meta was to give up plans to promote its own technology for selling ads in exchange for having preferential access to Google’s Open Bidding system.
The European Commission said in a statement that the Jedi Blue could be part of efforts to eliminate competing advertising services from Google, which smells of anti-competitive behavior. The entire agreement will be investigated by the antitrust authorities.
The British regulator said similarly. “We are concerned that Google has teamed up with Meta to create barriers for competitors who provide important online advertising services,” said Andrea Coscelli, head of the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority.
Google is defending itself, but it is the main suspect
This is not the first investigation in this regard. The Jedi Blue also came under fire in the United States, where attorneys general from 15 US states filed criminal charges against the agreement. The lawsuit has not yet gone far, but a detail has already been released that the bosses of both companies, Sundar Pichai for Google and Mark Zuckerberg for Meta, then still for Facebook, had personally agreed with the Jedi Blue.
According to the European Commission, it is possible that the main culprit is Google, although an investigation was launched against both companies. EU Financial Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who is in charge of competition in the EC, told The Financial Times. “It simply came to our notice then. However, it is not confirmed that Meta was aware of the impact of the agreement on it, so we have to check it, “said the European Commissioner.
“The allegations made under this agreement are untrue,” Google told Reuters. Meta said there was no restriction of competition.
If companies are found guilty of antitrust behavior, they face a fine of up to 10 percent of their total global turnover.