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Google Agrees to Pay $268 Million Fine to France Over Antitrust Practices

Google has agreed to settle a $268 million 💰 fine levied by French authorities over alleged antitrust practices.

The tech giant’s actions resolve a 2019 antitrust lawsuit from the national competition regulator of France, Autorité de la Concurrence. The regulator accused Google of abusing 💪 its superior rank in the industry. Here’s the story. 

What’s the Lawsuit About?

The lawsuit originates from a grievance by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, French newspaper Le Figaro, and Belgian media group Rossel La Voix. These companies accuse Google of illegally 🕵️ sending business prospects to its advertising server and its online ad auction house.

“The decision sanctioning Google has a very special meaning because it is the first decision in the world . . . [looking] into complex algorithmic processes [and] auctions through which online display advertising works,” said Isabelle de Silver, President of Autorité de la Concurrence, in a statement. “The investigation revealed the processes by which Google, relying on its considerable dominant position, was favored over its competitors on both ad servers and SSP [supply-side platform].”

A supply-side platform is an ad platform that coordinates and manages the distribution of ads. France’s competition regulator claims Google gave preferential treatment 🧐 to proprietary technologies offered under its brand.  The regulator’s decision gives all companies and publishers equal opportunities.

This Isn’t Google’s First Fine from France

Companies such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook are facing regulatory scrutiny at an increasing rate because of their monopolistic practices. In fact, French authorities have gone after Google before over 👀 deceptive adverting and tax rates. 

In February, French authorities fined the company $1.3 million 💵 for displaying false ratings of hotels and tourist destinations, therefore misleading consumers. Then in September 2019, Google agreed to pay French tax authorities €945 million to resolve a prolonged tax issue. 

In March 2019, the EU fined Google €1.5 billion for anti-competitive practices. That fine followed antitrust grievances 😡 in 2017 and 2018 that penalized Google to the tune of €6.8 billion in fines. 

Last year, the Department of Justice and nearly a dozen states issued an antitrust lawsuit against Google for monopolizing online searches and suppressing competitors. 

That lawsuit was labeled as the most substantial antitrust case in a generation. It accused Google of entering into “exclusionary agreements” 📜 to maintain a monopoly on online searches and internet advertising.

Other Tech Giants Hit With Antitrust Lawsuits in EU

In Brussels, leaders of the European Union (EU) have presented plans to restrict 🔒 the power of big tech companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and others. Policymakers argue that these companies require more supervision based on their size and influence. 

The presented policies would require tech companies to attempt to prevent the spread of hate speech 🤬 and counterfeit sales items. Companies would also have to disclose information on how operations like targeted advertising function. The array of announcements helped Europe to reinforce some of the world’s strictest rulings towards the technology sector.

Apple is facing accusations for the alleged abuse of its dominant presence in music streaming using restrictive rules. Swedish music streaming 🎼 platform Spotify filed a complaint against Apple, and the company recently faced charges from EU regulators.

If Apple loses that case, then it may have to pay penalties as high as 10% of its global income. On top of that, it will have to change its operations in Europe. This case is the first antitrust lawsuit Apple has encountered in the EU. 

Apple has also faced many grievances over antitrust laws. Epic Games recently sued Apple for removing the game Fortnite from the Apple App Store. Apple took this action after Epic allegedly tried to circumvent the App Store’s integrated payment system. 

What’s Next?

Many large tech companies are under scrutiny and have been found breaching antitrust laws. Companies such as Google and Apple may therefore have to pay large fines as a penalty for their unlawful actions. Companies may also be forced to alter their business operations to avoid any further violation of antitrust laws.

If you have experienced any form of misconduct from any social media platform or big tech company, then speaking with an attorney 👍 should be your next step. A social media attorney can assess your situation and provide the best legal assistance and guidance. Don’t hesitate to contact an attorney today!