Google and Facebook CEOs oversaw 2018 ad auction deals, states claim


Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg (left) and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

Reuters


Google and Facebook The CEO personally oversaw an illegal deal in 2018 that put Facebook in Google’s The ad auction, a group of state attorneys general led by Texas claimed Friday in an amended antitrust complaint against Google.

Facebook, which recently changed its name to Meta, was not named as a defendant in the indictment.


The new document shows how far the arrangement described in the earlier document has progressed. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, whose name was removed from the complaint, called the agreement “strategic” in an email, including CEO Mark Zucker Berg (Mark Zuckerberg), his name has also been deleted. The states allege that Sandberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai signed the terms of the deal, noting that Sandberg was previously a senior executive of Google’s advertising business.Sandberg’s signature earlier by Wall Street Journal.

According to the third amended complaint in the case, Google struck the deal after Facebook announced a move to help publishers and advertisers bypass Google’s fees for advertising through its services. States claim that if enough buyers are able to bypass its fees, Google fears a long-term threat to its ad server monopoly.

Under the agreement, Google and Facebook illegally collaborated to lower prices paid to publishers, cut off rival ad networks, and manipulated ad auctions run by publishers, the indictment said.


Internal Facebook documents cited in the complaint allege that partnering with Google would be “relatively cheap compared to building/buying and competing in the zero-sum ad tech game.” Google allegedly code-named the arrangement “Jedi Blue,” a reference to Facebook’s blue logo.

Sixteen states and Puerto Rico allege that Google’s actions in online advertising, along with other actions, were designed to illegally assert its monopoly power and violated the Sherman Antitrust Act.

Google has previously vehemently rejected claims in the Texas-led lawsuit, which economic policy chief Adam Cohen called 2021 Blog Posts “Misleading Attack”. A Google spokesman said the company would file a motion to dismiss next week, saying the case was “full of inaccuracies and lacks legal merit.”


A Google spokesman called the states’ description of Facebook’s arrangements inaccurate, saying “we sign hundreds of agreements every year that don’t require CEO approval, and this is no exception.”

The spokesman added that the agreement was published at the time, linking to Facebook blog post Named Google as one of its new bid technology partners from 2018.

Meta shares were up about 1% Friday afternoon, while Google shares were up about 0.65%.

According to a Google spokesperson, the agreement only allows the Facebook ad network and the advertisers it represents “to participate in public bidding, as more than 25 other partners have done. This helps increase demand for publisher ad space, and help publishers earn more as we explain here. “

In a statement, a Meta spokesperson said that its “non-exclusive bidding agreement with Google and similar agreements we have with other bidding platforms help to increase competition in ad placement. These business relationships allow Meta to serve ads on a fair basis.” compensating publishers with more value, resulting in better outcomes for all.”

Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.

WATCH: Google faces fast and furious lawsuit as antitrust scrutiny intensifies

.