Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally signed off on a deal to allow the latter company to gain an artificial advantage in Google’s ads market, according to a multi-state antitrust case led by Texas attorney general Ken Paxton.
The lawsuit claims the deal was kept secret from the public. A Google spokesman protested to The Hill that it was in fact “well-publicized.”
The 2018 arrangement potentially gave Facebook illegal advantages, the attorneys general from 15 states and Puerto Rico, led by Texas’s Ken Paxton (R), allege in court filings unsealed Friday.
The coalition initially filed its antitrust lawsuit alleging that Google holds a monopoly over the advertising technology market in 2020, then filed an updated complaint in November. The document released Friday is a less redacted version of the newer complaint.
It includes internal emails showing that the deal to limit header bidding practices, named Jedi Blue, was negotiated by top officials, including Zuckerberg and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. The existence of the deal had already been revealed in a previous iteration of the case.
More details about Google’s rigging of its ads market have come out recently due to Paxton’s lawsuit, which is backed by attorneys general from 15 states as well as the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.
As Breitbart News reported last week, details from the lawsuit allege an intricate system to ensure buyers favored by Google won its ad auctions, in particular publishers that granted preferential access to AdX, the tech giant’s ad exchange.
The revelations led to outrage from publishers, with one major publisher denouncing the system as “utterly dishonest” and a “staggering breach of trust,” in comments to the Daily Mail.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.