Facebook must face antitrust litigation over its alleged advertising pact with Google and its alleged strategy of building a social media empire by deceiving users about its data privacy practices, a federal judge in California ruled.
Judge Lucy H. Koh let proposed class actions advance against Facebook on behalf of consumers and advertisers, citing “more than plausible” allegations that the tech giant used lies and deceptive statements about data privacy to gain a dominant competitive edge over rival platforms that told the truth.
Facebook has also been fighting an antitrust lawsuit by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC lawsuit will be allowed to continue with its allegations of monopolization, rejecting Facebook’s dismissal requests.
The complaint also alleges Google manipulated its ad pricing tiers under a secret program called Project Bernanke that removed second-place bids on ad auctions. It allowed Google to pocket part of the difference between first and third-place bids while also harming publishers that rely on ad revenue and who could have made more from higher bids.
Under the agreement with Facebook, Google and Facebook illegally collaborated to decrease prices paid to publishers, cut out rival ad networks, and manipulate ad auctions operated by publishers, the complaint states.
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