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December 17, 2020

Texas Accuses Google and Facebook of an Illegal Conspiracy

Keller Lenkner represents the State of Texas in its antitrust case against Google. According to the complaint, Google entered into an unlawful agreement with rival Facebook to maintain control of the marketplace for header bidding. This level of collusion severely violates federal antitrust laws.

According to an article from WIRED, here’s why it matters. Google’s “unlawful agreement” with Facebook gave it “special privileges in exchange for promising not to support a competing ad system. It’s just one of many claims made in a case that takes broad aim at Google’s monopoly over the online advertising ecosystem, but it could very well be the most consequential. The case is a civil suit, and it names only Google as a defendant. But if what Texas is alleging is true, then both companies may have violated federal antitrust law—and committed felonies in the process.”

“The other antitrust cases filed against Google and Facebook this year—by the Justice Department for Google and the Federal Trade Commission and state AGs for Facebook—are based on Section 2 of the Sherman Act, which is about building a monopoly. In a Section 2 case, it isn’t enough to show that a company dominates a market; the government must also prove that it got to the top by using anticompetitive tactics rather than by just being the best. The alleged conspiracy between Google and Facebook is different. It falls under Section 1 of the Sherman Act, which makes it illegal for two or more companies to make any contract or agreement ‘in restraint of trade.’ “

Read more at Wired.com.