The Joseph Saveri Law Firm is conducting a Facebook and Google business practices investigation regarding their and other tech companies’ dominance in and monopolization of online search, social media, digital advertising, and other internet-based markets. We believe these companies have engaged in anticompetitive conduct that has likely harmed businesses who advertise on these platforms as well as digital publishers who rely on the platforms to promote their content. Recent evidence further suggests that Facebook and Google have even entered into an agreement not to compete with one another in the digital advertising marketplace.
Facebook is the world’s largest social network, serving more than three billion users worldwide. Facebook tracks its users’ affiliations, activities, and interests, and then leverages this data to create display ad campaigns. Because of this, Facebook is the leading social networking platform for any business looking to advertise. Last year alone, Facebook generated revenues of more than $70 billion and profits of more than $18.5 billion.
We believe Facebook has—through anticompetitive acquisitions of its competitors—deterred competition to maintain its monopoly power in social networking. Moreover, Facebook may have abused its monopoly power to force advertisers and publishers to pay more than they should for visibility online.
Google, due to its monopoly power in the search market, acts as a gatekeeper to the internet. Google leverages its dominance in online search to prioritize its own proprietary content over more relevant search results or other published content. This conduct blurs the distinction between organic and paid results, delivering inferior search results to consumers and lower web traffic to online content publishers.
After a 16-plus-month long investigation into the state of competition in the digital economy, in October 2020 the House Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee released its majority staff report and recommendations, taking particular issue with Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook and their exploitative business practices, the first of several civil antitrust lawsuits filed by governmental entities against Google.
“To put it simply, companies that once were scrappy, underdog startups that challenged the status quo have become the kinds of monopolies we last saw in the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons,” the report said. “By controlling access to markets, these giants can pick winners and losers throughout our economy. They not only wield tremendous power, but they also abuse it by charging exorbitant fees, imposing oppressive contract terms, and extracting valuable data from the people and businesses that rely on them.”
On October 20, 2020, the Justice Department filed a civil antitrust lawsuit against Google, alleging anticompetitive and exclusionary practices to preserve a monopoly for its search engine and related advertising business. In December, the Federal Trade Commission sued Facebook for illegal monopolization in personal social networking.
Platforms and the digital economy present new challenges in antitrust enforcement. As our Facebook and Google business practices investigation unfolds, we believe recovery is available in private actions for damages suffered by individuals and businesses participating in these markets due to misappropriation of content, overcharges in ads, or unfairly diverted traffic.
Please complete the contact form below if you or your business:
- Purchases advertising through Google and/or Facebook and therefore potentially overpaid for those goods and services or have been unable to reach your desired target audience with your ads;
- Develops/publishes content and may have seen that content downgraded on Facebook or demoted in Google search results; or
- Has been harmed by Google through the misappropriation of information you published on the web or prioritization of Google’s own products or services over yours.
Any information you provide will be kept strictly confidential as provided by law.