Google is expected to face an antitrust lawsuit against its dominance over the digital advertising market, according to a report by Bloomberg.
The lawsuit, set to be filed by the US Justice Department (DOJ), will explore how Google acquires and maintains its dominance in the digital ad market by violating the antitrust laws. The report, which cites informed sources, states the case could be filed in the federal court this week.
Google is already facing a DOJ lawsuit to “restore competition in search and search advertising markets”. It was filed in October 2020 and termed Google “monopolist”, adding the company unlawfully maintained dominance in the market through “anticompetitive and exclusionary practices”.
Neither Google nor the Justice Department has issued comment on the report.
The expected lawsuit is set to target Google’s integral advertising business, which generates about 80 per cent of the company’s total revenue.
Advertisers and website publishers have repeatedly complained about Google’s lack of transparency regarding the revenue generated through their content and how much of it is pocketed by the search engine. Big Tech platforms, especially Google and Facebook, have been accused of exploiting media publications by taking a large portion of the profits generated through news content.
Overall, this would be the fifth lawsuit in the US against Google’s dominant practices, three of which have been filed by state attorneys general. The suits allege that Google violates antitrust laws by dominating the online search markets, advertising technology and Android apps.
In 2022, Google was slapped with back-to-back fines by India’s competition watchdog for forcing app developers to use the company’s in-house billing system, restricting them from using third-party payment processing services. The series of probe concluded that Google’s exclusionary measures limited competition and innovation and allowed the firm to both obtain commissions and maintain its dominance in the Android market.
In September 2022, Media Matters for Democracy (MMfD) launched State of Pakistan’s Media Economy: Impact on Independent Journalism, which examines the overall situation for digital advertising revenue in relation to the media industry in Pakistan. The research found that nearly 85 per cent of the digital ad revenue is collected by leading social media firms, primarily Google and Meta.
For more on how this dominance and lack of transparency impede the space for alternative mechanisms to enable direct monetisation for media organisations, read the publication here: State of Pakistan’s Media Economy: Impact on Independent Journalism.