Google has agreed to pay a €220 million ($267 million) fine and change its ad practices after France’s competition authority found it had abused its dominant online ad position. Following a 2019 complaint by News Corp. and French newspaper Le Figaro, France ruled that Google was favoring its own advertising services to the detriment of rivals.
In a blog post, Google explained how it planned to change its ad rules by offering publishers “increased flexibility” by improving interoperability between its ad manager and third-party ad servers. “Also, we are reaffirming that we will not limit Ad Manager publishers from negotiating specific terms or pricing directly with other sell-side platforms.”
Google’s ad division has faced scrutiny from French regulators in the past. In 2019, the watchdog fined Google €150 million ($167 million) for opaque and unpredictable advertising rules after it suspended the Google Ads account of a French company without notice. Google has also clashed with regulators and publishers in the nation over the use of snippets of content in its news section.