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Utah Attorney General Reyes: Lawsuit Against Google for Anticompetitive Practices and Deceptive Misrepresentations in Online Display Advertising

December 16, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes announced today that the State of Utah joined 10 states in a multistate lawsuit against Google.  The suit cites multiple violations of Federal and State Antitrust Laws, including:

  • Anticompetitive conduct, exclusionary practices, and deceptive misrepresentations in connection with its role in the multibillion-dollar online display advertising industry.
  • Google’s monopolization of online display advertising includes an anticompetitive agreement with Facebook, misrepresenting customers, suppressing competition and harming consumers in violation of antitrust and consumer protection laws.

The internet revolutionized the way people consume content as well as the type of ads that companies can purchase to reach consumers, including online display ads. In addition to representing both the buyers and the sellers of online display advertising, Google competes directly against the buyers and sellers they separately represent, all while operating the largest exchange of these products. Google’s exchange trades in billions of ad impressions a day.

Attorney General Sean D. Reyes said: “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. 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.”

Today’s lawsuit alleges that Google monopolized, or attempted to monopolize, products and services used by advertisers and publishers in online display advertising. The complaint also alleges that Google engaged in false, misleading and deceptive acts while selling, buying and auctioning online display ads. These anticompetitive and deceptive practices demonstrably harmed publisher’s ability to monetize content, increased advertiser’s costs to advertise and directly harmed consumers.

Read a copy of the lawsuit here.

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