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Top Google and Facebook executives accused of ad modification The Register

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Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg negotiated a 2017 deal between Google and Facebook to kill header bids, a way for multiple ad exchanges to compete fairly in automated ad auctions, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (now Meta). CEO Sundar Pichai, according to the latest complaint filed in a Texas-led anti-trust lawsuit against Google, which was approved by both Google and Google.

Texas, 14 other states, and Kentucky and Puerto Rico have accused Google of illegally monopolizing the online advertising market and fraudulently conducting advertising auctions in a December 2020 proceeding. Plaintiffs subsequently filed an amended complaint in October 2021 containing previously edited details.

Friday, Texas etc. Submitted a third amended complaint [PDF] This will fill in more blanks and extend the claim by an additional 69 pages.

Fortified filings add additional information about previous revelations and extend the scope of concern to cover in-app advertising in more detail.

Currently, there are three allegations of unfair competition against Google with the support of the US government. A federal antitrust proceeding from the US Department of Justice, an objection from Colorado, and 38 other State Attorney Generals (filed at about the same time as the Texas-led motion). , And a competitive claim focused on the Android and Google Play stores submitted last July.

The amendment Article 3 allegations detail how Google worked to “kill header bids.” This is said to have been seen by Google as an existential threat to its position as a gatekeeper in the advertising market. Elaborate on the negotiations between Google and Facebook and persuade Facebook to stop supporting header bidding in exchange for a favorable treatment. Called “Jedi Blue” internally and ultimately called a “public bid” when discussed publicly, Facebook was allegedly able to win the ad auction even if its competitors bid high. I am.

The third complaint corrected was “Facebook Chief Operating Officer. [REDACTED] It was explicit'[t]He’s a strategic big deal in an email thread that includes Facebook CEO [REDACTED]..When the financial conditions took shape, the team sent an email directly to the CEO: “We are almost ready to sign and need your approval to move forward.” Facebook CEO wanted to meet the COO [REDACTED] Before making a decision, his other executives. “

The resulting 2018 Google-Facebook’Jedi Blue’contract is allegedly signed by Philipp Schindler, Google’s head of advertising sales and operations and Facebook COO. [REDACTED] Known worldwide as Sheryl Sandberg, a member of Facebook’s board of directors and former Google VP of Global Online Sales and Operations.

“Google CEO Sundar Pichai also personally approved the terms and conditions,” the court’s petition said.

The enhanced filing includes a new allegation about how Google used Accelerated Mobile Pages to thwart header bids.

In addition, the revised filing adds support for claims that a Google advertising program called Dynamic Revenue Share or DRS was fooled to help Google get more valuable ad impressions.

“DRS manipulated Google’s exchange fees to win the impression that it would otherwise have lost, after soliciting bids at auctions and peeking at bids on rival exchanges.” The complaint is stated.

And the complaint now claims that Google officials have admitted the unfairness of the DRS system. “Google internally admitted that DRS made the auction dishonest. Buyers bid and use the winner’s bid to determine their own price (initial pricing) …’ “

Google had previously turned to Texas and others. Proceedings. In January, Google’s director of economic policy, Adam Cohen, posted a blog post to refute the allegations.

Regarding header bidding, Cohen states that Google has created an alternative open bid due to the drawbacks of header bidding.

“Although you can’t read this in AGPaxtons complaints, this technology has real drawbacks. Header bidding auctions take place in your browser, on your computer, or on your mobile phone, so more data for your device to work. Must be used, “he writes. .. “This can lead to issues such as slower loading of web pages and faster battery drain on the device. Also, complex header bidding can lead to fraud and other issues. Advertiser prices may rise artificially and may adversely affect publishers’ profits. “

Google also maintains a competitive website that can tell the world “how Google’s free products can help people and small businesses across the United States.”

In an email to The Register, a Google spokesperson challenged the allegations made in the latest complaint, but did not respond to requests detailing certain inaccuracies.

Prosecutor Paxton tried three times to rewrite the complaint, but it was still full of inaccuracies and had no legal benefit, “said a Google spokeswoman. world. There was fierce competition in online advertising, reducing ad tech fees and expanding the options for publishers and advertisers. Now, keep fighting this useless proceeding in court. “

Not to mention other similar proceedings.

Sources

1/ https://Google.com/

2/ https://www.theregister.com/2022/01/15/googles_facebook_advertising/

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