CMA announces investigation into Google & Meta

Posted on Monday 14 March 2022 | IAB UK

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating whether Google and Meta restricted or prevented the uptake of header bidding services

As part of its investigation, the CMA will consider whether an agreement between Google and Meta (previously Facebook) broke the law. The CMA is also scrutinising Google’s conduct in relation to header bidding services more widely to see if the firm gained an unfair advantage over competitors trying to provide a similar service.

Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of the CMA, said: “We’re concerned that Google may have teamed up with Meta to put obstacles in the way of competitors who provide important online display advertising services to publishers. If one company has a stranglehold over a certain area, it can make it hard for start-ups and smaller businesses to break into the market – and may ultimately reduce customer choice. We will not shy away from scrutinising the behaviour of big tech firms while we await powers for the Digital Markets Unit, working closely with global regulators to get the best outcomes possible.”

Commenting on the news, Jon Mew, CEO of IAB UK, said: “Ensuring that the digital ad industry is competitive, fair and diverse is essential to the long-term sustainability of the open web and it’s the CMA’s role to ensure that competition rules are followed.”

A Meta spokesperson said “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. These business relationships enable Meta to deliver more value to advertisers and publishers, resulting in better outcomes for all. We will cooperate with both inquiries.”

Find out more about the CMA’s investigation here

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