Facebook and Google have reached an agreement to “work together and help each other” if they face an investigation into their online advertising cooperation pact. This is based on a draft lawsuit filed against Google by ten US states last week.
The lawsuit cites in-house documents that have been heavily edited. The Wall Street Journal analyzed part of a recent, unprocessed draft of the case, which discussed the conclusions and complaints contained in the legal documents.
Ten Republican court clerks, led by Texas, said the two companies entered into a deal in September 2018 in which Facebook agreed not to compete with Google’s online advertising tools for special treatment when using them.
Google used the language from the movie “Star Wars” as the code name for the deal, according to the lawsuit, which hid the real name. The draft lawsuit states that she was known as the “Blue Jedi”.
The lawsuit itself states that Google and Facebook were aware that their business could spark antitrust investigations and discussed how to deal with them in an excerpt, followed by important topics.
The preliminary draft stipulates that the companies will “cooperate and assist each other in responding to the antitrust lawsuit” and “inform the other party promptly and fully of any government communications related to the agreement”.
In the company contract “the word [EDITADA] it is mentioned at least 20 times, “says the lawsuit. The unedited draft bears the word” antitrust law “.
A Google spokesperson said these antitrust threat deals were extremely common.
“Complaints [dos Estados] are imprecise. We do not manipulate the auction, “said the spokesman, adding that the deal was not secret and that Facebook was participating in other ad auctions.
“Commitment is nothing exclusive [do Facebook]and they do not receive data that is not equally available to other buyers. “
The processing process filed last week makes no mention of Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer (COO). According to the draft version, Sandberg has signed the agreement with Google. That version also cites an email in which she said to CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other senior executives, “This is strategically big business.”
Like Google, Facebook denied the lawsuit’s allegations, saying that its advertising bid agreements encourage options and create clear benefits for advertisers, publishers, and small businesses.
“Any claim that this harms competition or that there is evidence of misconduct by Facebook is unfounded,” said a Facebook spokesman.
The final version of the process did not provide details of the contract value. The draft says Facebook will have to spend at least $ 500 million per year on Google auctions from the fourth year of the contract. “Facebook will win a fixed percentage of these auctions,” says the draft version. The lawsuit says “Facebook should [EDITADO]”.
According to the draft, an internal Facebook document described the deal as “relatively cheap” compared to direct competition, while a Google presentation said that if the company could “avoid competing with Facebook,” it would work together to ” to build a gap “. . The process edited and opened last week does not contain these quoted sentences.
The lawsuit alleges that pre-Facebook anti-trust Google executives and others were concerned when they used “header bids,” a technique to buy and sell online ads.
In an internal Google presentation in October 2016, an employee expressed concern about the potential competition from Facebook and other big tech companies, saying, “To discourage these people from doing HB [header bidding], we probably have to consider something more aggressive, “says the draft.
The processed process discusses Google’s competition concern and mentions the presentation but does not include the quote.
According to an internal Google statement dated November 2017 discussing a possible “partnership with Facebook” for Google’s “Top Partner Council”, the company said its ultimate goal was “to work together when necessary to keep the status quo to maintain. ” “The processed process describes a presentation on the last step by Google, but does not contain the specified phrase.
As the two sides neared the deal, the Facebook negotiating team, according to the draft, emailed Zuckerberg saying the company faced options: “Invest hundreds more engineers” and spend billions of dollars to secure the inventory. , go out of business or make a deal with google. Zuckerberg wanted a meeting before making a decision, according to the draft.
These details do not appear in the lawsuit, filed last week and citing Zuckerberg only once, in a separate paragraph on another internal statement regarding the deal.
For years, criticism of Google’s online advertising empire has centered on how the company uses its powerful consumer platforms like Google Search and YouTube to dominate another lucrative but less visible business: software that acts as an intermediary for buying and selling ads on the web.
Facebook’s allegations add another problem: Google has signed a deal with a competing agent that it has cited as “Google’s greatest potential competitive threat”.
They also present a strong legal risk. Under US law, fixing prices may be easier to prove than other states’ fees – for example, that Google has an illegal monopoly.
In addition to the lawsuit filed in Texas, Google was hit in another lawsuit last week, backed by 38 court clerks. They claim that the company has a monopoly on the Internet search market through anti-competitive contracts and conduct.
Google also denied allegations about this trial, as well as an earlier one initiated by the Justice Department on Oct. 20 for alleged monopoly practices.