FRANCE fines Google Euro 150 million for opaque advertising rules.

PARIS : France's competition watchdog fined Google E-150 million [$167 million] on Friday for abusing its power over the treatment of advertisers, saying it applied opaque rules and changed them at will.

With a market share of around 90 percent in the online search business, Google has a responsibility to offer a fair access to Google Ads, the regulator added.

''One of the great principles of competition law is that with great power comes great responsibility,'' de Silva said.
''It's also Spider-Man's motto,'' she noted, referring to the fictional superhero.

Google said it blocked Gibmedia because it was running ads for websites that deceived people into paying for services on unclear billing terms.

''We do not want these kinds of ads on our systems, so we suspended Gibmedia and gave up advertising revenue t protect consumers from harm,'' Google said in a statement.

Gibmedia refuted the allegation.

''Gibmedia has never been convicted of any deceptive practice and it's unacceptable to see that Google, which has just been once again condemned for anti-competitive practices, has no other defense than to attacks its victim,'' said Herve Lehman, Gibmedia's lawyer.

In September, Google agreed to pay close to 1 billion euros to French authorities to settle a fiscal probe that began four years ago. In January, France's data protection watchdog had fined Google 50 million for breaching European Union online privacy rules.

The data protection watchdog stated in its January ruling that Google lacked transparency and clarity in the way it informed users about its handling of personal data, and had failed to properly obtain their consent for personalised ads. [Reuters]


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