Google Faces Second Probe Into Advertising Practices as Britain Investigates 3 Key Parts of Ad Tech

Britain’s competition regulator on Thursday launched its second investigation into Google’s advertising practices, saying the Alphabet-owned search giant may distort competition and may have illegally favored its own services.

The latest investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) follows the Google and Facebook owner’s “Jedi Blue” agreement earlier this year.

The CMA said Thursday that it is considering three main parts of the advertising technology stack chain, the services that mediate advertising technology, with Google owning the largest provider in each of those components.

“We are concerned that Google may be using its advertising technology to benefit its own services at the expense of its competitors, customers and ultimately consumers,” said Andrea Coseli, CEO of the CMA.

A Google spokesperson told Reuters that the company will continue to work with the Capital Markets Authority to answer its questions and share details about how the company’s systems work.

Last year, Britain’s competition regulator opened a formal investigation into Amazon and Alphabet’s Google over concerns that the tech giants were not doing enough to combat fake reviews on their sites.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it aims to gather more information to determine whether companies have violated consumer law by taking insufficient measures to protect shoppers from fake reviews.

The move followed an initial investigation by the Capital Markets Authority, opened in May 2020, that evaluated the internal systems and processes of several platforms to identify and deal with fake reviews.

The regulator said it was also concerned that Amazon’s systems were failing to adequately prevent and deter some sellers from manipulating product listings, for example by selecting positive reviews from other products.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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