An amendment version of a suit filed in December 2020 by many states accuses the CEOs of FB and Google of being participants in the suit’s subject, an illegal agreement to corner the digital advertising market.
It claims that Google and Facebook wanted to throttle competition.
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The lawsuit claims that the big tech giants agreed to decrease prices paid to publishers to eliminate the rivals and manipulate ad auctions, reported CNBC.
“Google understood the severity of the threat to its position if Facebook were to enter the market and support header bidding,” the complaint reads, according to MarketWatch. “To diffuse this threat, Google made overtures to Facebook.”
At the time when the initial complaint was made public, the allegation’s outlines were finished, but the text of the lawsuit was heavily redacted.
The amended version was less so upon a judge’s order, and that allowed the American population to see that the coalition of states headed by TX AG Ken Paxton target top tech officials in the case against the tech giants. Existing redactions blackout names and not titles.
After the titles, CNBC realized that FB Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg classified the agreement as “a big deal strategically” in a mail that included Zuckerberg, and his name was redacted. Sandberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai both OK’d the terms added CNBC.
The New York Post quoted the lawsuit and shared that Zuckerberg and Pichai “signed off on the backroom deal in 2018, which allegedly guaranteed Meta subsidiary Facebook would both bid in — and win — a fixed percentage of ad auctions.”
“Facebook CEO [REDACTED] wanted to meet with COO [REDACTED] and his other executives before making a decision,” says the complaint.
“We’re nearly ready to sign and need your approval to move forward,” Sandberg wrote Zuckerberg.
“Google CEO Sundar Pichai also personally signed off on the terms of the deal,” the lawsuit said,
The tech giants stated that they didn’t make a mistake; they did nothing wrong.
“Despite Attorney General Paxton’s three attempts to re-write his complaint, it is still full of inaccuracies and lacks legal merit,” Google spokesperson Peter Schottenfels said.
“Our advertising technologies help websites and apps fund their content and enable small businesses to reach customers around the world. There is vigorous competition in online advertising, which has reduced ad tech fees, and expanded options for publishers and advertisers.”
Meta Platform, the parent of FB, defended itself.
“Meta’s non-exclusive bidding agreement with Google and the similar agreements we have with other bidding platforms have helped to increase competition for ad placements,” Meta spokesperson Christopher Sgro said.
“These business relationships enable Meta to deliver more value to advertisers while fairly compensating publishers, resulting in better outcomes for all,” he said.
The lawsuit is led by TX< and has been joined by the AGs of Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Puerto Rico, South Carolina South Dakota, and Utah.