Google And Meta CEOs Face Claims Of Alleged Advertising Sales Manipulation

(FILES) - File picture taken March 2, 2015 shows Google's Senior Vice President Sundar Pichai giving a keynote address during the opening day of the 2015 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. Google unveiled a new corporate structure August 10, 2015, creating a parent company dubbed Alphabet led by chief executive Larry Page, with the Internet search unit as one of several entities. In a surprise announcement, Page said Alphabet will be the umbrella company for the tech giant's research arm X Lab, investment unit Google Ventures and health and science operations, as well as the search unit Google, whose CEO will be current vice president Sundar Pichai. AFP PHOTO / LLUIS LLENE

Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg were allegedly aware of and approved a deal to collaborate on the potential manipulation of ad sales, according to newly revealed documents. 

In a newly unredacted portion of a lawsuit, Google’s CEO was said to have personally signed off on the terms of a deal, which the New York Times reported as being at the heart of an antitrust dispute. 

Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton argued that Google has obtained and abused a monopoly over the network of technology used to deliver ads online. 

Supposedly when publishers started using alternative systems for selling ad space, Google worked to undermine it by creating a similar system that it controlled, according to the lawsuit. 

16 states and Peurto Rico have lodged against the search giant and they’ve argued that Google reached a deal with Facebook to have the social network join together to “kill” the publishers’ competing plan. 

Also seen in the newly visible parts of the lawsuit are details of the programs used by Google to mislead buyers and sellers of ad space. 

It’s been said that Google misled buyers and sellers about the precise nature of the auctions they were participating in, thus allowing Google to make more money. 

Vehemently opposed to these claims, a Google spokesman said the complaint was “still full of inaccuracies and lacks legal merit.” 

Continuing on, the spokesperson added, “We sign hundreds of agreements every year that don’t require CEO approval, and this was no different.”

However, despite Google’s objections, damning documents have further cited internal messages in which Google employees said it was like they were using “insider information” to grow the business. 

This antitrust lawsuit is one of several filed by government agencies against tech giants in the last two years.

Google alone finds itself fighting a triad of cases, including one from the Justice Department that labelled the company a “monopoly gatekeeper.”

Though in this particular antitrust case, the judge has given Google until next Friday to respond to the latest version of the lawsuit. 

It’s expected that Google will plan to ask the judge to dismiss the case according to one of the companies spokespeople. 

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