Google and Facebook CEOs signed off on illegal ad deal

Google and Facebook CEOs signed off on illegal ad deal


17 January 2022

According to documents filed in a US court, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai secretly agreed to an illegal plan in 2018 to secure their domination over the online advertising market.

According to internal documents that came to light following a complaint filed by Texas prosecutors against Google in 2020, it appears that the two tech companies have signed an illegal agreement codenamed Jedi Blue.

The deal favored Facebook advertising on Google compared to other companies. Facebook, in turn, gave up plans to implement a new way of online advertising that would threaten total control of Google. Instead, Facebook backed the Google Open Bidding platform two years later.

To strike a balance between the two companies, the CEOs of Facebook and Google, Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai respectively, signed the agreement.

Both Google and Facebook are under pressure for using anti-competitive methods. Google says that the lawsuit isn't accurate, and company spokesperson Peter Schottenfels said, "We sign hundreds of agreements every year that don't require CEO approval, and this was no different. And contrary to AG Paxton's claims, the fact of this agreement was never a secret — it was well-publicized. It simply enables FAN [Facebook Audience Network] and the advertisers it represents to participate in Open Bidding, just like over 25 other partners do."

"Meta’s non-exclusive bidding agreement with Google and the similar agreements we have with other bidding platforms, have helped to increase competition for ad placements," said Meta spokesperson Stephen Peters. "These business relationships enable Meta to deliver more value to advertisers while fairly compensating publishers, resulting in better outcomes for all."

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