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Utah among 10 states filing lawsuit against Google

Dec 16, 2020, 3:26 PM
Google Utah Reyes antitrust lawsuit...
FILE: NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 3: The Google logo adorns the outside of their NYC office in New York City. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes (AG) has joined with nine other state attorneys general in a lawsuit against Google.  The suit, according to a statement from the AG’s office, cites “anticompetitive practices and deceptive misrepresentations in online display advertising.”

Lawsuit: Google violates antitrust laws

The suit claims that Google violated both federal and state antitrust laws; those laws are designed to promote competition among businesses for the benefit of U.S. consumers.

According to the statement, Google exhibits “anticompetitive conduct, exclusionary practices, and deceptive misrepresentations in connection with its role in the multi-billion-dollar online display advertising industry.

“Google’s monopolization of online display advertising includes an anticompetitive agreement with Facebook,” the statement continues, “misrepresenting customers, suppressing competition, and harming consumers in violation of antitrust and consumer protection laws.”

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes argues Google is in a unique competitive environment. He says the company “represents both the buyers and the sellers of online display advertising while at the same time competing against the buyers and sellers they represent.”

Online display ads at stake

Of particular concern is Google’s involvement in online display advertising, which, according to digital marketing news site searchengineland are ads, “placed on third-party websites in the form of banner, image, and text ads … a blanket term that includes every visual ad placed on a website.

“To the detriment of competitors and consumers, Google has strayed from its founding motto of ‘Don’t be evil’ by displaying naked greed and a disdain for the law in its pursuit of absolute market dominance,” Reyes said.

“Rather than relying on innovation and merit in an open market, Google has chosen to attempt to crush all competition with a concerted scheme that few in the public understand,” Reyes continued.

The complaint filed today alleges that Google monopolizes products and services used by advertising and publishers. It also accuses Google of engaging in false and deceptive acts while selling and buying online display ads.

Two months ago the U.S. Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google which focuses on the company’s search and advertising business.

And just last week, dozens of U.S. states joined together in antitrust lawsuit against Facebook, alleging in part that the social media site built a monopoly through predatory business practices.

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Utah among 10 states filing lawsuit against Google