Publishers have filed a Europe-wide antitrust complaint against

Publishers have filed a Europe-wide antitrust complaint against accusing it of using ‘unlawful tactics’ to monopolise online advertising and crush competition – giving it a stranglehold over the industry that threatens the free press.

The European Publishers Council (EPC), a group of Chairmen and CEOs of the continent’s leading media groups including MailOnline’s owner Daily Mail and General Trust, has today revealed it is complaining to the European Commission about the tech giant’s digital advertising practices.

They say Google’s advertising platform is ‘rife with conflicts of interests’ because it is acting as buyer and the seller in the same transaction, while also operating the auction house in the middle in a monopoly that harms publishers and consumers across Europe.

The Silicon Valley firm’s position has been compared to ‘Goldman or Citibank owning the New York Stock Exchange’ because it controls both buy-side and sell-side advertising brokers.

Figures show that one of Google’s advertising auction programs dropped publisher revenue by 40%, and there are fears changes to its cookie technology could hit revenues by up to 70%.

Meanwhile it takes advantage of its dominant position to increase its market share at the expense of customers who are locked into Google products.

The EPC’s complaint is the latest in a string of antitrust lawsuits and complaints being filed against the tech giant across the world over its anti-competitive tactics.

In June the French competition authority fined Google €220 million for abusing its dominance of online advertising to unfairly favour its own services and in November Italy’s antitrust watchdog fined it €11.2millon for ‘aggressive methods’.

In the UK, the tech giant has been subject to an antitrust investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority investigation over the introduction of its new advertising plan the Privacy Sandbox. 

Today the CMA announced Google had agreed to a set of commitments which will give the regulator oversight of how Privacy Sandbox is introduced.

And in the US Google is facing a Texas antitrust lawsuit that accuses it of rigging the online advertising market, increasing costs to advertisers while rewarding publishers who give it preferred access.

European publishers have now gone to the the European Commission with a complaint which seeks to ‘break the ad tech stranglehold Google currently has over press publishers’, that it says threatens the future viability of funding a free and pluralistic press across the continent.

The group claims that since its acquisition of internet advertising company DoubleClick in 2008, Google has embarked on a ‘barrage of unlawful tactics to foreclose competition in ad tech’.

The European Publishers Council (EPC), a group of Chairmen and CEOs of the continent's leading media groups, has today revealed it is complaining about the tech giant's digital advertising business

The European Publishers Council (EPC), a group of Chairmen and CEOs of the continent’s leading media groups, kaca tempered has today revealed it is complaining about the tech giant’s digital advertising business 

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