French regulator fines Google €150m over search engine ads

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The French competition authority fined Google €150 million for anti-competitive behavior and unclear advertising on the Google Ads page.

The fine comes as France and other European countries maintain high levels of control over major US tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon, which are often criticized for having relatively low tax payments.

In September, Google agreed to pay nearly a billion euros to French authorities to settle a tax evasion investigation opened four years ago.

Google, which is the world’s largest Internet search engine, has also come under increasing regulatory scrutiny over the content it promotes in search results and ads.

Isabelle de Silva, head of the French competition authority, told a press conference that Google’s dominance in the online advertising sector was “extraordinary”, with the American company holding a market share of about 90% in this area.

Google said it would appeal the fine.

In January, the French data protection authority fined Google 50 million euros for breaching European Union online privacy rules.

The French watchdog said in the January ruling that Google lacked transparency and clarity in how it informed users about its processing of personal data and failed to properly obtain their consent for personalized ads.