Google fined €150m over search engine adverts by France, for advertising linked to web searches, France’s competition authority announced Friday.
Google was also ordered to clarify the operating rules of its advertising platform, Google Ads and its procedures for suspending accounts of certain advertisers.
France’s competition authority’s chief, Isabelle de Silva told a news conference that Google could not be allowed to apply rules in an erratic way.
Google holds an “extraordinarily dominant position” in search-based advertising, with a market share of between 90 and 100 per cent, she said, and “when you have great power, you also have great responsibilities”.
She said the authority had no argument with Google establishing rules for access to its search-based ad services, but “these rules must be clear”
Google has two months to produce a detailed proposal of measures and procedures it intends to implement to bring its practices into line.
This is the first ever sanctioning of Google by the France regulatory and its third biggest penalty ever handed out for abuse of market dominance by the regulatory authority.
France’s data protection regulator, CNIL, had also fined Google €50 million (around $56.8 million USD) for failing to comply with its GDPR obligations which was the biggest GDPR fine to be issued by a European regulator.
CNIL said that the fine was issued because Google failed to provide enough information to users about its data consent policies and didn’t give them enough control over how their information is used. According to the regulator, these violations are yet to have been rectified by the search giant. Under GDPR, companies are required to gain the user’s “genuine consent” before collecting their information, which means making consent an explicitly opt-in process that’s easy for people to withdraw.