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Press release11 March 2022Representation in Cyprus

Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into possible anticompetitive conduct by Google and Meta, in online display advertising

The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation to assess whether an agreement between Google and Meta (formerly Facebook) for online display advertising services may have breached EU competition rules.

Read-out of the weekly meeting of the von der Leyen Commission by Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission, and Thierry Breton, European Commissioner, on the Data Act

The Commission investigation concerns a September 2018 agreement, which Google code-named ‘Jedi Blue’, between Google and Meta for the participation of Meta's Audience Network in Google's Open Bidding programme. The Commission is concerned that the agreement may form part of efforts to exclude ad tech services competing with Google's Open Bidding programme, and therefore restrict or distort competition in markets for online display advertising, to the detriment of publishers, and ultimately consumers. If proven, the practices under investigation may breach EU competition rules on anticompetitive agreements between companies (Article 101 of the Treaty on TFEU) and/or the abuse of a dominant position (Article 102 TFEU). The Commission will now carry out its in-depth investigation as a matter of priority. Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: ”Many publishers rely on online display advertising to fund online content for consumers. Via the so-called “Jedi Blue” agreement between Google and Meta, a competing technology to Google's Open Bidding may have been targeted with the aim to weaken it and exclude it from the market for displaying ads on publisher websites and apps. If confirmed by our investigation, this would restrict and distort competition in the already concentrated ad tech market, to the detriment of rival ad serving technologies, publishers and ultimately consumers.” A press release is available online.

Details

Publication date
11 March 2022
Author
Representation in Cyprus