Google is being investigated by an Italian watchdog for abuse of the advertising market

Google is being investigated by an Italian watchdog for abuse of the advertising market

Italy’s antitrust authority is investigating Alphabet’s Google for alleged abuse of its dominant position in the Italian market for online display advertising, it said on Wednesday.

The investigation follows a complaint filed by Italian digital advertising lobby group IAB last year, and adds to the regulatory scrutiny facing the Silicon Valley tech giant around the world.

The watchdog said he’s suspicious Google of using huge amounts of data collected through its own applications to prevent rival operators from competing effectively. It said it carried out inspections of some Google offices on Tuesday.

A Google spokesperson in Italy said in an emailed statement that the company was working constructively with Italian authorities.

He added that the Google policy changes the watchdog was targeting were aimed at European Union privacy law with the operation of its advertising tools.

Angela Mills Wade, Executive Director of the Council of European Publishers, welcomed the Italian investigation, which is due to be completed in November 2021.

He said the “unmatched position” of the tech giant hit “publishers and ultimately its readers, as less ad revenue leads to less investment in journalism.”

The Italian online advertising market generated revenue of 3.3 billion euros (approximately Rs 28,716 million) last year, with display advertising, such as banner ads, accounting for almost 37 percent.

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