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Antitrust: Google was involved in Price fixing, circumventing Apple's privacy measures, AMP throttling, batting down privacy legistlations

WolframaticAlpha
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Summary

Amid google's antitrust proceedings, details about Google's sketchy deals are coming out. These include

  • Google and Facebook devised methods to get around apple's block on cookies in browsers. Google and facebook devised methods to get around this with custom javascript to identify users and devices.
  • In addition to this, Google and facebook allegedly engaged in anticompetitive practices against advertisers. The jedi blue deal, which fixed bids in ad auctions to facebooks favour to allow FB to be more visible in google ads. 
  • Google had a specific team dedicated to ad auction manipulation and fixed market prices thru something called "Dynamic allocation"
  • Google traded info on it's adsense deals with other major tech players, they forced logins into their chrome browser to build a walled garden on the internet for a project called NERA. 
  • Google, FB & MS tried to stall privacy legistlations and tried to discourage users from taking privacy seriously. Google was also concerned about Microsoft taking child privacy too seriously. 
  • Google allegedly had a deal about with WhatsApp to mislead users about encryption of whatsapp's backups. 
  • Google deliberately throttled non-AMP articles and ads to boost adoption of AMP which is alleged to be a scheme to coerce marketers into google's ad ecosystem.

 

Quotes

Quote

Both companies also had an illegal advertising deal (Jedi Blue) that allowed the social media company to appear more in Google Ads. Google did this by fixing bids in ad auctions to Facebook’s favor. They also had a fallout plan on covering for each other if this information ever came under regulatory scrutiny.

Quote

 

Quote

“To respond to the threat of header bidding, Google created Accelerated Mobile Pages (“AMP”), a framework for developing mobile web pages, and made AMP essentially incompatible with JavaScript and header bidding. Google then used its power in the search market to effectively force publishers into using AMP,” the complaint alleges.

 

Check @maroider's post on the topic.

My thoughts

I hope there are serious ramifications about these shitty deals. Keep in mind that the whole thing is still undergoing. 

 

Sources

Google And Facebook Worked Together To Evade Apple Privacy: Antitrust (fossbytes.com)

Dominance And Collusion: Inside The Unredacted Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google’s Ad Tech Business | AdExchanger

Google charges more than twice its rivals in ad deals, unredacted suit says | Fox Business

Google Takes Up to 42% From Ads, States Claim in Lawsuit (msn.com)

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2 minutes ago, WolframaticAlpha said:

To respond to the threat of header bidding, Google created Accelerated Mobile Pages (“AMP”), a framework for developing mobile web pages, and made AMP essentially incompatible with JavaScript and header bidding. Google then used its power in the search market to effectively force publishers into using AMP,” the complaint alleges.

That's not even an allegation; that's just straight facts. Lol

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Hey remember when Google said they didn't use cookie's anymore and everyone was so excited.

Screenshot_20211025-092731_Brave.thumb.jpg.1b38314981cbd11bdf44f2853ded4735.jpg

This does not surprise me at all. It's literally been known forever. I mean c'mon Apple rolled out their privacy stuff and Google and Facebook just laughed.

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😕 I was in the middle of making my own post on this when I refreshed the news page just to be sure. Oh, well.

I'll just dump what I wrote here under a spoiler tag, as we seem to have used different sources.

Spoiler

Summary

 

A document published on October 22nd reveals previously redacted details in the ongoing Texas-lead antitrust lawsuit against Google[1][3].

The previous version of the document was made available on October 9th[3].

 

Quotes

The Register[1]:

Quote

Several years ago, to deal with the competitive threat of header bidding – a way for multiple ad exchanges to get a fair shot at winning an automated auction for ad space – Google allegedly hatched a plan called "Jedi" to ensure that its ad exchange always won.

 

And in 2017, after Facebook announced plans to support header bidding, Google, it's claimed, struck a deal with Facebook – dubbed "Jedi Blue" – in which the two internet behemoths would "work together to identify users using Apple products," and set up "quotas for how often Facebook would win publishers’ auctions."

 

[...]

 

The Texas antitrust case against Google is one of four ongoing government-backed claims in the US alleging the web search giant competes unfairly. A year ago, the US Justice Department filed a federal antitrust lawsuit. Colorado also filed a complaint last December on behalf of a group of 38 states. Then there's the complaint filed in July over Android and the Google Play Store, backed by 36 US states and commonwealths, along with Washington DC.

 

The amended complaint in the Texas litigation expands on a claim in the initial complaint about Google's alleged effort to delay privacy legislation, with help from Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft, at a closed-door meeting between the corporations on August 6, 2019.

 

[...]

 

Header bidding emerged around 2015 as a way to bypass Google's control of the ad auction ecosystem and the fees it charged. By 2016, the court filing explains, about 70 per cent of major publishers were using header bidding to offer their ad space to multiple ad exchanges at the same time, not just Google, to get the best deal from advertisers.

 

"Google quickly realized that this innovation substantially threatened its exchange’s ability to demand a very large – 19 to 22 percent – cut on all advertising transactions," the revised complaint says. "Header bidding also undermined Google’s ability to trade on inside and non-public information from one side of the market to advantage itself on the other – a practice that in other markets would be considered insider trading or front running."

Tweets republished by @fasterthanlime on Twitter[22]:

Quote

Ok so, I just read through all 173 pages of the unredacted Google antitrust filing and I have to say that either Google is screwed or society is screwed, we'll find out which.

Unordered list of fun things I learned:

 

- google has a secret deal with facebook called "Jedi Blue" that they knew was so illegal that it has a whole section describing how they'll cover for each other if anyone finds out

- google appears to have a team called gTrade that is wholly dedicated to ad market manipulation

 

[...]

 

- Google is willing to do almost everything to prevent people from circumventing their ad exchanges

- This is what AMP is about

- Google habitually insider trades on their ad exchanges in every way you can think of and every way you can't. Too many ways to list here.

 

[...]

 

- Google has worked with Facebook and Microsoft to discourage them from increasing user privacy, lamenting occasions where they prioritized their reputation over their collective business interest

MSPoweruser[2]:

Quote
Project NERA was Google’s original plan to create a closed ecosystem out of the open internet. Google documents reveal that Google’s motive was to “successfully mimic a walled garden across the open web [so] we can protect our margins.”

[...]

 

Google's main strategy to do this was to leverage its popular browser, Chrome, to track users, by forcing them to stay logged into the browser.

Search Engine Land[3]:

Quote

The complaint, which is led by the State of Texas on behalf of 12 mostly Republican states, goes so far as to allege Google even throttled the load speed of pages not using AMP in order to give a “nicer comparative boost” to AMP.

 

“Throttling non-AMP ads slows down header bidding, which Google then uses to denigrate header bidding for being too slow,” it reads. “‘Header Bidding can often increase latency of web pages and create security flaws when executed incorrectly,’ Google falsely claimed. Internally, Google employees grappled with ‘how to [publicly] justify [Google] making something slower,'” according to the complaint.

 

The lawsuit, which cites internal Google documents, was originally filed on Sept. 9 and was heavily redacted. However, a ruling by a Manhattan judge forced the release of the mostly unredacted version on Friday.

 

My thoughts

TODO

 

Sources

[1]: The Register: Antitrust battle latest: Google, Facebook 'colluded' to smash Apple's privacy protections (links to [10])

[2]: MSPoweruser: Project NERA: State Attorneys General claim Google is planning to turn the internet into a “walled garden” (links to [11])

[3]: Search Engine Land: Google throttled AMP page speeds, created format to hamper header bidding, antitrust complaint claims (links to [11])

[10]: (Amended Complaint — Document #152) In re: Google Digital Advertising Antitrust Litigation

    [11]: Civil Action No.: 1:21-md-03010-PKC

[22]: Tweet by @fasterthanlime (nitter) (republished thread: original account is locked) (links to [11])

    [23]: Tweet by @PatrickMcGee_ (nitter) (links to [11])

        [24]: Tweet by @thezedwards (nitter) (links to [11])

            [25]: Tweet by @SamuelStolton (nitter) (links to [11])

 

Reddit threads

https://old.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/qews4y/project_nera_state_attorneys_general_claim_google/

https://old.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/qfald5/google_throttled_amp_page_speeds_created_format/

https://old.reddit.com/r/programming/comments/qeyvwv/google_had_a_plan_called_project_nera_to_turn_the/

https://old.reddit.com/r/privacy/comments/qf0cep/project_nera_turning_the_web_into_a_walled_garden/

 

Anyway, here's a fun quote from the document everyone's using as a source:

Quote

248. After crippling AMP’s compatibility with header bidding, Google went to market falsely telling publishers that adopting AMP would enhance page load times. But Google employees knew that AMP only improves the “median of performance” and AMP pages can actually load slower than other publisher speed optimization techniques. In other words, the ostensible benefits of faster load times for a Google-cached AMP version of a webpage were not true for publishers that designed their web pages for speed. Some publishers did not adopt AMP because they knew their pages actually loaded faster than AMP pages.

 

249. The speed benefits Google marketed were also at least partly a result of Google’s throttling. Google throttles the load time of non-AMP ads by giving them artificial one-second delays in order to give Google AMP a “nice comparative boost.” Throttling non-AMP ads slows down header bidding, which Google then uses to denigrate header bidding for being too slow. “Header Bidding can often increase latency of web pages and create security flaws when executed incorrectly,” Google falsely claimed. Internally, Google employees grappled with “how to [publicly] justify [Google] making something slower.”

 

250. Despite the speed benefits Google falsely touted, publishers did not want to use AMP because AMP pages caused their advertising revenue to decline: publishers make less money selling advertising on AMP pages than they do on their regular web pages. AMP also degraded quality by restricting content and ad types.

A fair few of us have known that AMP was crap for a while now, and this really just serves to confirm that.

 

While I hope that Google will face appropriate consequences for what has been uncovered, I can't help but worry a little about Firefox.

Mozilla (the corporation, and the entity that actually develops Firefox) gets most of its money from an agreement with Google to make Google the default search engine in Firefox, despite their attempts to secure alternate revenue streams. I am a teensy bit worried that the fallout from this lawsuit might hurt Mozilla indirectly.

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Jesus christ...

Alphabet, Facebook and, to an extent, Microsoft need to be broken apart.

 

Will it happen, though? Probably not.

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they will get fined

the fine will amount to hundreds of millions or couple of billions

so less than what they gained out of all of this

will obviously appeal regardless

maybe in one decade they will start paying the fine

in the meantime in that decade they still racked up 1000 times what the fine consisted off

 

and nothing will change out of this.

 

Frankly strongly believe that if a business in the eyes of the law is an individual entity, then such fines that would throw a person in jail while also fining them should throw said business in jail. How do you throw a non phisical entity in jail? Block any and every activity for the time they would have spent in jail. And make sure there are no loop holes that would allow them to just set up shop under a new banner and pick up business from where they left.

Now that's how change would trully happen.

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5 hours ago, IAmNotASmartMan said:


Serious ramifications? What will that be, a fine? Will that fine even be high enough to have made their actions unprofitable? I doubt it.

It's the ol congress critter shake-down move. Clearly 'Big Tech' isn't paying enough protection money.

Don't worry, those elected officials will get filthy rich soon and this entire controversy will be labeled by the media as one giant misunderstanding.

 

Move along, nothing to see.

Seriously, I'll believe it when I hear more than sterns words issued and a gentle slap on the wrist. These people go to each others parties, it's all for show.

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The allegations of their use of ads are incredibly bad. If its as bad as it sounds or worse, we could see adsense completely shut down.

5 hours ago, IAmNotASmartMan said:

Serious ramifications? What will that be, a fine? Will that fine even be high enough to have made their actions unprofitable? I doubt it.

What? How do you figure that? Price fixing is possibly the most common corporate crime that sees CEOs jailed and companies shut down.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price_fixing#Examples
This is far more serious than you realize if true

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1 minute ago, poochyena said:

The allegations of their use of ads are incredibly bad. If its as bad as it sounds or worse, we could see adsense completely shut down.

What? How do you figure that? Price fixing is possibly the most common corporate crime that sees CEOs jailed and companies shut down.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price_fixing#Examples
This is far more serious than you realize if true

I doubt this will get alphabet/gogole and facebook shut down.

1.2% of all websites are on Google servers

33% of the market is on aws. 

The backlash if the companies were orded to close doors would be insane

At most its a ceos being kicked out move 

I could use some help with this!

please, pm me if you would like to contribute to my gpu bios database (includes overclocking bios, stock bios, and upgrades to gpus via modding)

Bios database

My beautiful, but not that powerful, main PC:

prior build:

Spoiler

 

 

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5 minutes ago, IAmNotASmartMan said:

Let's look at the first example;

" It is estimated customers were overcharged by nearly $500 million and up to $5 per album"

" In restitution for price fixing they agreed to pay a $67.4 million fine distribute $75.7 million in CDs to public and non-profit groups. "

yes.. the first one. Continue reading the rest of the examples. There is precedent of people being sent to jail over this, so to completely write off the idea that these people and companies has no chance of facing serious charges is ridiculous.

6 minutes ago, HelpfulTechWizard said:

I doubt this will get alphabet/gogole and facebook shut down.

Me too, thats why I said adsense, not Alphabet or google.

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5 hours ago, jagdtigger said:

Time to put FB and Alphabet onto the chopping block.....

It was a purposely bad idea to ever let Google or Facebook to run their own advertising systems because of the access to private data they have.

 

If we break them up, we should also break up every ISP that double-deals in user accounts and third-party advertising.

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13 minutes ago, IAmNotASmartMan said:

"charged 19 executives with wrongdoing and four received prison terms."

Not bad odds of escaping with no prison time at all it seems.

This is always true for nearly any criminal case. The people at top get the jail sentences while the people at the bottom cooperate and get probation. And did you skip this part? "and was fined $300 million, the second largest antitrust penalty in US history. "

 

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8 hours ago, WolframaticAlpha said:

Google was also concerned about Microsoft taking child privacy too seriously. 

Wow, Fuck you google

🌲🌲🌲

Judge the product by its own merits, not by the Company that created it.

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Nothing will happen because if you lose all the American big techs then all the non-NATO big techs will take over.

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