According to a recent lawsuit filed by ten state attorneys general, tech giants Facebook and Google agreed to “cooperate and assist one another” if they faced an investigation into their deal to work together in the online advertising market. Google and Facebook have turned the online advertising business into a duopoly that Amazon has only begun to work its way into. Internal documents included in a draft of the lawsuit use terms from the Star Wars films to describe the deal struck between the Masters of the Universe, including the term “Jedi Blue.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that a recent lawsuit filed by 10 states against Google last week claims that Google and Facebook agreed to “cooperate and assist one another” if they were ever to face an investigation into their deal to work together in online advertising.
The suit cites heavily redacted internal company documents as proof of this claim. The Wall Street Journal states that it was able to review part of a recent draft version of the suit without redactions that elaborated on findings and allegations in the court documents.
Ten Republican attorneys general, led by Texas, claim that the tech giants developed a deal in September 2018 in which Facebook agreed not to compete with Google’s online advertising tools in exchange for special treatment when Facebook used the tools. Google reportedly used language from the film series Star Wars as a code name for the deal according to the lawsuit, which redacted the actual name. The draft version of the suit refers to the deal as “Jedi Blue.”
The lawsuit claims that Google and Facebook knew that their agreement could trigger antitrust investigations and discussed how to deal with them. The draft lawsuit claim that the companies agreed to “cooperate and assist each other in responding to any Antitrust Action” and “promptly and fully inform the Other Party of any Governmental Communication Related to the Agreement.”
The lawsuit states that in the companies’ contract, “the word [REDACTED] is mentioned no fewer than 20 times.” The WSJ clarifies that the redacted word is “antitrust.”
A Google spokesperson told the WSJ that such agreements over antitrust threats are common and that the states’ “claims are inaccurate. We don’t manipulate the auction.” The spokesperson added that the deal wasn’t secret and Facebook participates in multiple ad auctions. “There’s nothing exclusive about [Facebook’s] involvement and they don’t receive data that is not similarly made available to other buyers.”
Read more at the Wall Street Journal here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address firstname.lastname@example.org