Technology giant Google has been fined € 220 million (£ 189 million) by French authorities for misusing the power of advertising.
According to the French competition watch agency, Google is hurting its rivals by promoting its own online advertising service.
Google’s ad management platform For large publishers, Google Ad Manager preferred to use its online advertising marketplace, Google AdX.
Google said it would make changes to its advertising business.
US tech giants have agreed to make their data and tools easier to use for publishers. The company said, “We will test and develop these changes over the next few months and then roll them out more widely, including some globally.”
This isn’t the first time the Alphabet-owned company has been fined heavily for violating European advertising rules.
Google was fined € 1.49 billion (£ 1.28 billion) by the EU for blocking rival online search advertisers in 2019.
In 2019, the French data regulator CNIL fined € 50 million (£ 44 million) for violating EU data protection regulations.
EU competition authorities fined the company a record € 4.34 billion (£ 3.9 billion) in 2018 for blocking rivals using the popular Android mobile operating system.
In 2017, a fine of € 2.42 billion was imposed for interfering with rivals on shopping comparison sites.
“The decision to sanction Google is especially important,” said Isabelle de Silva, head of the French Autorité de la concurrence.
According to Watchdog, Google Ad Manager provided AdX with strategic data such as winning bids, and AdX also had privileged access to advertiser requests through Google’s advertising services.
AdX, on the other hand, exchanged data with ad managers more smoothly than other ad management platforms. The platform is essential for publishers to manage and sell their advertising space.
France’s finance minister, Bruno Lemaire, said, “The practices Google has implemented to support its advertising technology have influenced the press group, whose business model relies heavily on advertising revenue.
French officials began an investigation in 2019 following joint complaints from News Corp., French news publishing group Le Figaro and Belgian press group Rossell.
The decision paved the way for disadvantaged publishers to seek damages from Google.
“We believe in providing valuable services and competing for benefits, but we are committed to actively working with regulators around the world to improve our products,” said Google France’s Legal Director. Maria Gomri says.