Google, Twitter… Why GAFA is afraid of France

Google, Twitter… Why GAFA is afraid of France

rebels. Google lawyers can put on their robes. Hardly had the last sanction been imposed by the competition authority (ADLC) in France last year than a new complaint was filed against the advertising practices of the Mountain View group. On September 14, Belgian law firm Geradin Partners announced that class action lawsuits will be initiated in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom in the coming weeks. Based on a French cartel ruling, European and British publishers accuse Google of abusing its market position and giving preference to its own Ad Manager ad service. They are demanding $25 billion in compensation from him.

“Our claim for damages is largely based on the facts established by the French competition authority, namely that Google has broken the rules to the detriment of French publishers,” explains champion Damien Geradin. In June 2021, the ADLC fined Google 220 million euros. A transaction negotiated by the group, which committed to changing its practices and opening up its auction platform to publishers’ IT tools. The authority has thus created a strong incentive for the players in the sector.

Binding Decisions

As appeals against American tech giants multiply in Europe, the question is on everyone’s lips. And if the French regulators managed to “scare” the Gafa? On September 14, whistleblower Peiter Zatko, a former Twitter employee, stunned US senators with this revelation: “Twitter is afraid of the Cnil, much more so than the FTC.”

The penalties imposed by the National Commission for Computing and Liberties (CNIL) are said to be more restrictive than decisions by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Surprising if we compare the American agency’s imposing budget of 376 million dollars and the limited funds on the French side: 24 million euros for the Cnil and 23 million for the AD-LC. “Our country is described as one where everything is allowed from a repressive point of view,” said Olivier Fréget, a lawyer specializing in competition law. Within a year, fines imposed on Google exceeded 800 million euros. They reached 60 million for Facebook, which was condemned by the CNIL for not allowing its users to refuse cookies.


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