Google, Facebook CEOs accused of colluding to dominate ad market
The deal was allegedly a way for Google to counter header bidding. Publishers look for the header bidding position to make more money from the ads on their website
Published:Sat, January 15, 2022 12:20pm
By Danny Dcruze
Google and Facebook are facing a lawsuit for an attempt to collude to gain an advantage in the ad market. The tech giants already dominate the space due to their sheer reach and user base. A lawsuit has been filed in the companies home country the United States. The lawsuit accuses the CEOs of both Alphabet and Facebook (now Meta) of being aware of the deal. It even claims that Google CEO Sundar Pichai signed off on the deal.
The lawsuit was filed in December last year but new unredacted documents have been surfaced, according to a report by Associated Press. The lawsuit points to an email thread where Mark Zukerberg was also seen in conversation with other executives of Facebook about the deal. The lawsuit also claims the Sundar Pichai signed off on the deal himself.
The lawsuit alleges that Facebook's Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg said that "this is a big deal strategically" in the same mail thread that also included Zuckerberg. Once both sides had managed to agree to the terms of the deal, the responsible team sent a mail to Zuckerberg directly, according to the lawsuit.
What is the deal about?
The deal was allegedly a way for Google to counter header bidding. Publishers look for the header bidding position to make more money from the ads on their website. Facebook, a major player in the ad sector, provided this feature to its users. This deal wanted to stop Facebook from providing this position to its publishers and in return it would get "information, speed, and other advantages" from Google.
According to Google (via AP), the lawsuit is "full of inaccuracies and lacks legal merit."
Meta spokesperson Chris Sgro said Friday that the company's ad bidding agreement with Google and similar agreements it has with other bidding platforms "have helped to increase competition for ad placements."
"These business relationships enable Meta to deliver more value to advertisers while fairly compensating publishers, resulting in better outcomes for all," Sgro said.