France’s competition authority fined Google, the world’s biggest internet search engine, 150 million euros ($167 million) for anti-competitive behaviour and for having unclear advertising on the Google Ads page. Photo: File

DURBAN - France’s competition authority has fined Google 150 million euros ($167 million) for anti-competitive behaviour and for having unclear advertising on the Google Ads page.

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

France’s competition authority fined Google, the world’s biggest internet search engine, 150 million euros ($167 million) for anti-competitive behaviour and for having unclear advertising on the Google Ads page. Photo: File

In September, Google agreed to pay close to 1 billion euros to French authorities to settle a fiscal fraud probe that began four years ago.

Google, which is the world’s biggest internet search engine, has also faced growing regulatory scrutiny about the content it promotes in search results and ads.

Isabelle de Silva, who is the head of the French competition authority, said ins a news conference that Google’s dominance in the online advertising business was “extraordinary”, with the United States company having a market share of around 90 percent in that field.

Google said it would appeal the fine.

In January, France’s data protection watchdog had fined Google 50 million euros for breaching European Union online privacy rules.

The French watchdog stated in that 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 personalized ads. 

REUTERS