US state prosecutors unite to take on Alphabet and Meta CEOs over anti-competitive ad auction bids / Digital Information World
A coalition of US state attorneys recently filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, claiming the company is in cahoots with Facebook over a particular project dubbed “Jedi Blue.”
At this point I honestly think either all the big corporations and conglomerates are constantly besieged with lawsuits (which is never a bad thing, have them) or Meta and Alphabet decided to take the most possible for a bet or something. Meta was the subject of a class action lawsuit in the UK not even a few days ago and is now dealing with a whole coalition of lawyers claiming that it is illegally associating with Google. Yikes is the first word that comes to mind when I think of it, the next line being “well it’s Meta after all, why would I expect better?” Plus, focusing this whole arrangement on the social media conglomerate would do a huge disservice to the company implicated by this anti-trust complaint in the first place: Alphabet, would you please take the stage?
The lawyers, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, revealed that the Jedi Blue deal was approved by the highest levels of the company, specifically implicating Alphabet CEO Sundar Picahi, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg in the process. . These charges were presented along with a series of memos, emails and other leaked documents that were presented as evidence. Although the names of these three people have been redacted from the documents, these same documents also mention them by their official positions, so perhaps the editor was not the most scrupulous of individuals, huh?
But what is Jedi Blue, and why is it worth all the hassle? Well, the Jedi Blue deal was an agreement that Facebook and Google entered into with the purpose of providing the former’s Facebook Audience Network with access to open auctions for advertisements. It’s even been openly mentioned by the likes of Google and Meta. However, what has not been brought to attention is the alleged fact that Jedi Blue apparently also granted concessions to Facebook in an attempt to give it better odds and opportunities to outbid, thus depriving other companies and partners the ability to compete.
As of now, no official hearing has been called, but Google has obviously denied any claims that Sundar Pichai is involved in the cases. Meta has not commented yet.
Read next: Meta’s new infographic asking sellers on its platform to adhere to relevant policies