European Commission targets Google’s advertising practices

According to a document from the European Commission, antitrust regulators from the European Union have sought information from advertisers regarding Google’s advertising technology practices.

During the last three years, Google, owned by Alphabet Inc, has been fined a total of $10 billion (8.25 billion euros) for blocking rivals in online shopping, online advertising and Android smartphones.

Google now faces two investigations from the European Union into its advertising practices.

Facebook and Google together control more than 50% of the global internet ad sales globally. Both companies are currently the target of a U.S. lawsuit over their 2018 deal which gives Facebook’s advertiser clients the option to place ads within Google’s network of publishing partners.

In a statement, Google said it was cooperating with the European Commission. The EU’s regulator had sent a 13-page questionnaire to advertisers earlier this month asking about the impact of using the default setting ‘Include Google Display Network’ introduced in 2018 for search campaigns on Google Ads.

“We compete with many others in the industry and give people granular controls over how their information is used to personalize ads and limit the sharing of personal data to safeguard people’s privacy,” said a spokeswoman from Google.

In a statement the European Commissioner said, the questionnaires are part of its investigation into Google’s data usage.

“This investigation covers all services of Google, including digital advertising and the ad tech chain,” said the EU competition enforcer.

The EU also wants to know if advertisers receive rebates when they use Google intermediaries which allow advertisers or media agencies to buy advertising inventory from many sources.

The EU’s questionnaire asks whether the ability to access Google’s YouTube is tied to the selection of an intermediary.

It asked if Google’s integration in 2018 of its online ad delivery unit DoubleClick impacted advertisers as well as any imminent impact from its plan to phase out third-party cookies on the Chrome browser by the end of 2022.

Advertisers have until Friday to reply to the questionnaire.

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