Daily Management Review

Google Fined €150m By France Watchdog For Slack Advertising Rules


Google Fined €150m By France Watchdog For Slack Advertising Rules
The close scrutiny of the business practices of the United States based tech giants is continuing in Europe.
Validation of charges of abuse of dominant market power the treatment of advertisers against the search engine giant Google resulted in the France’s competition watchdog imposing a fine of €150 million or $167 million on Friday. The watchdog alleged that the tech giant implemented opaque rules and changed them at its own discretion, .
The regulator added that it was incumbent on Google to be more responsible in offering a fair access to Google Ads because the company has a total market share of around 90 per cent in the online search business.
Accusations of "brutal and unjustified" suspension of keyword advertisers on its platform were brought against Google by the watchdog.
"Google has the power of life or death for certain companies that live by these advertisements," said Isabelle de Silva, chairman of France's competition authority. "We don't contest Google's right to impose rules. But the rules must be clear and imposed equally to all advertisers."
The watchdog also ordered Google to change its "opaque and difficult to understand" rules that it applied on advertisers.
“One of the great principles of competition law is that with great power comes great responsibility,” de Silva said. “It’s also Spider-Man’s motto,” she noted, referring to the fictional superhero.
Gibmedia was blocked from its platform because the company was running ads for websites which falsely enticed people into paying for services on unclear billing terms, Google said. “We do not want these kinds of ads on our systems, so we suspended Gibmedia and gave up advertising revenue to protect consumers from harm,” Google said in statement.
The allegations against it were refuted by Gibmedia. “Gibmedia has never been convicted of any deceptive practice and it’s unacceptable to see that Google, which has just been once again condemned for anti-competitive practices, has no other defense than to attack its victim,” said Hervé Lehman, Gibmedia’s lawyer.
Agreement to settle a fiscal fraud probe that began four years ago that was being carried out by French authorities against Google was agreed by the tech giant in September against a payment of almost 1 billion euros. Charges of breaching of European Union online privacy rules against Google were found to be true by the France’s data protection watchdog which also had resulted in a fine in January.
While ruling that Google was not transparent and clear enough in providing information to its users about how it handled their personal data, the French data protection watchdog had stated in its January ruling that the tech giant had not obtained proper consent from its users about personalised ads.