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France fines Google €150m for abusing ad dominance

Telegraph 20 Dec 2019 12:08

Google has been fined €150m (£128m) by France’s competition authority for abusing its dominance of the advertising market with “brutal and unjustified” suspension of search advertisers.

The French authority said the fine for anti-competitive behaviour was due to Google suspending advertisers in France buying keyword-based ads in a “random and unjustified” fashion, which lead to significant losses for the companies in question.

Along with ordering Google to pay the fine, the authority also called on the world’s biggest search engine to clarify its rules and employ a system to warn advertisers at risk of suspension.

“Google has the power of life or death for certain companies that live by these advertisements,” said Isabelle de Silva, chairman of France’s competition authority. “We don’t contest Google’s right to impose rules. But the rules must be clear and imposed equally to all advertisers.”

Google said it would appeal the fine.

“People expect to be protected from exploitative and abusive ads and this is what our advertising policies are for,” a Google spokesperson said.

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