The French Competition Authority has fined Google 150 euros. The entity claims the Mountain View giant's behavior goes against competition law as it is "abusing its dominant position" in the online advertising market. At issue are the “opaque and hard-to-understand” rules of Google Ads, the authority adds.
The ruling is the conclusion of a four-year investigation into a complaint by Gibmedia against Google's online advertising platform. The French company runs a number of websites offering weather forecasts, business data and directories. In 2015, your Google Ads account will have been suspended by Google without notice.
Google says Google is “ambiguous” and that Google applies its rules “inconsistently”: “some websites are suspended, while others with similar content are not,” says the Competition Authority. in press release. In addition, "some non-compliant pages have received personalized Google Ads services to increase their exposure."
In addition to paying the fine, the authority requires Google to submit, within two months, a detailed report on how its online ad platform works, including clarification on account suspension processes.
In response, Google claims it will appeal the decision. The technology giant claims that the suspension decision was intended to protect consumers as Gibmedia was displaying misleading ads that caused users to pay for certain services, advances to Reuters.
The fine imposed by the French Competition Authority is the first to be imposed by the entity, however, this is not the first "punishment" Google has received. In January this year, CNIL, the French data protection authority, fined the technology giant 50 million euros. At issue was the lack of transparency in the application of the General Data Protection Regulation (RGPD). The associations None of Your Business (NOYB) and Quadrature du Net have accused Google of not having a valid legal basis for processing users' personal data on its services, including for commercial purposes.