A federal judge in New York has decided that an antitrust lawsuit brought by state attorneys general against Google will be heard in a hearing after the company has been accused of collusion with Facebook* (now meta*) to secure a dominant position in the online advertising market.
Judge P. Kevin Castel allowed the lawsuit to go to trial while dismissing prosecutors’ claim that the 2018 deal with Facebook was finalized* violated antitrust law. In 2020, attorneys general for 16 US states and Puerto Rico sued Google, accusing the company of monopolizing the advertising technology market. Plaintiffs allege an illegal secret deal codenamed Jedi Blue helped Facebook* to gain an advantage in Google-controlled ad auctions, in exchange for which the social network undertook not to introduce new technologies that would undermine Google’s monopoly on the online advertising market. Judge Castel dismissed this accusation: in his opinion in the fact of the conclusion of this agreement “Nothing inexplicable or suspicious”.
The plaintiffs also allege that Google manipulated the results of ad auctions on the exchange it controls in such a way that its own designs almost always won. The judge allowed this allegation to be heard at the hearing: The company could in fact be trying to monopolize the advertising market, including advertising platforms, ad exchanges and ad buying tools for small advertisers. At the same time, according to Judge Castel, the plaintiffs have failed to prove that the price floor optimization program on Google’s advertising exchange is anticompetitive – it allows website owners to increase their revenue when advertisers are genuinely willing to pay more.
Finally, the hearing will not address the issue of Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) technology, as plaintiffs have again failed to demonstrate its anti-competitive nature. This technology caches website content on Google servers to make lightweight pages load faster on mobile devices.
* It is included in the list of public associations and religious organizations for which the court made a final decision to liquidate or ban activities on the grounds provided for in Federal Law No. 114-FZ of July 25. 2002 “On Countering Extremist Activities”.