According to Google, the issue revolves around Amadeus charging consumers for services that are available for free, or for a nominal charge; this practice is against its internal policies which prohibit ads for services that can be obtained for free or at a lower price from the government or another public source.
In a significant development, France’s competition regulator ordered Alphabet Inc’s Google to review its policies and procedures for blocking certain advertisements, saying its actions taken against French firm Amadeus, may have been anti-competitive.
Google is now reviewing the regulator’s order.
Being a dominant search engine in nations across the Globe, Google has faced growing regulatory scrutiny about the manner it promotes search results and advertisements.
In its injunction, the French regulator issued the order as a preliminary one while it reviews to determine whether Google has indeed engaged in anti-competitive behavior.
In 2018, Amadeus, which runs a directory service in France, had complained to regulators about suffering a sales decline following Google blocking it from running search ads.
In a statement Google said, “Amadeus is a paid phone directory service which charges consumers for services that are available elsewhere for free, or for a nominal charge.”
Incidentally, Google’s policies prohibit ads for services that can be obtained for free or at a lower price from the government or another public source.
“Some of Amadeus’ ads violated our terms and conditions for advertisers, which are designed to protect users,” clarified Google.
However, France’s regulator stated, Google must add more transparency to its policies, provide more warning before blocking advertisers, review Amadeus’ specific situation and provide more training to its sales staff on the company’s ads policies.
It went on to add, it “will ensure the proper implementation of these interim measures and will issue its decision on the merits of the case in the coming months.”
This development comes in the wake of France’s data protection watchdog imposing a record fine of $57.5 million (50 million euros) on Google, for breach of European Union online privacy rules.