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EU to probe ad deal between Google and Meta
Margrethe Vestager (executive vice-president in charge of competition policy)

11 Mar 2022 / technology Print

EU to probe ad deal between Google and Meta

The European Commission has begun a formal investigation into whether an agreement between Google and Meta (formerly Facebook) on online display-advertising services may have breached EU competition rules.

The probe concerns a 2018 agreement between the two companies that Google code-named ‘Jedi Blue’.

Google provides services that intermediate between advertisers and publishers by the real-time auctioning of online display-advertising space on web sites or mobile apps – including through its ‘Open Bidding’ programme.

The 2018 deal provided for the participation of Meta's Audience Network, which takes part in auctions for third-party publishers’ advertising space, in the Google programme.

Co-operation with UK body

The commission said that it was concerned that the agreement might form part of efforts to exclude ad-tech services competing with Google.

“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,” said Margrethe Vestager (pictured), the commissioner in charge of competition policy.

“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,” she added.

The EU body signalled that it would co-operate with the UK's Competition Market Authority, which has launched its own investigation into the agreement.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland