Tech

Google, Facebook CEO claims to have overseen the 2018 advertising auction deal

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

Reuters

Google and Facebook CEOs personally oversaw the 2018 illicit transactions that favored Facebook at Google’s advertising auctions.

Facebook, which was recently renamed Meta, is not listed as a defendant in the complaint.

The new filing shows how far the arrangements claimed in the previous filing have progressed. Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, whose name was edited in the complaint, called the deal a “strategic big deal” in an email containing CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whose name was also edited. The state claims that Sandberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai have approved the terms of the deal, saying that Sandberg was formerly a senior executive in Google’s advertising business. Sandberg’s sign-off was previously reported by The Wall Street Journal.

According to the third amended complaint in the case, Google made a deal after Facebook announced a move to help Facebook avoid the charges Google charged for advertising through its service. The state argued that Google fears a long-term threat to ad server monopoly if enough buyers can avoid the charges.

Under the agreement, Google and Facebook have illegally worked together to reduce prices paid to publishers, eliminate rival ad networks, and operate advertising auctions run by publishers, the complaint said.

According to Facebook’s internal document quoted in the complaint, the partnership with Google is “relatively cheaper than building / purchasing and competing for zero-sum advertising technology games.” Google allegedly code-named the arrangement “Jedi Blue,” referring to Facebook’s blue logo.

A group of 16 states and Puerto Rico alleged that this and other actions Google took in its online advertising space violated the Sherman Antitrust Act and attempted to maintain its monopoly illegally.

Google had previously strongly rejected the claims in the Texas-led proceedings, which Economic Policy Director Adam Cohen called in a 2021 blog post a “misleading attack.” A Google spokesperson said Friday that the company would file a motion to dismiss next week, saying the proceedings were “full of inaccuracies and had no legal benefit.”

A Google spokesperson said the state characterization of Facebook’s arrangements was inaccurate, saying, “We sign hundreds of contracts each year that don’t require CEO approval, with the exception of this. It wasn’t. “

A spokeswoman added that the agreement was public at the time and linked to a 2018 Facebook blog post to nominate Google as one of the new bidding technology partners.

Meta’s share rose more than 1% in mid-Friday afternoon, while Google’s parent Alphabet rose nearly 1%.

According to a Google spokeswoman, the deal will allow the Facebook Advertising Network and the advertisers it represents to participate in open bids, just like any other 25+ partners. With increasing demand for advertising space, publishers can increase their revenue by: “I’ll explain here.”

A Meta spokeswoman said in a statement on Friday, “Non-exclusive bidding agreements with Google and similar agreements with other bidding platforms have helped to intensify the competition for advertising. These business relationships have helped. , Meta can offer more value to advertisers. It’s a fairly rewarding publisher and gives better results for everyone. “

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Google, Facebook CEO claims to have overseen the 2018 advertising auction deal

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