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Europe’s New Google Probe Zeroes In On YouTube

 |  June 28, 2021

Europe recently announced its fourth big investigation into Google, and this time video-sharing site YouTube seems to be getting some special attention. According to CNBC, Europe’s new Google probe is focusing on Youtube Ads.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, announced last week that it had concerns that Google is favoring its own online display ad technology services, therefore potentially breaching antitrust rules in the EU.

As part of the probe, the Commission stated it will examine “in particular” what it described as the “obligation” to use Google services like the Google Ads platform to purchase online display ads on YouTube. Display ads are a form of paid advertising that can be found on websites, apps, and social media. These ads come in several different formats and sizes.

It also stated that it will assess the “obligation” to use Google Ad Manager, a platform that facilitates both the buying and selling of ads across multiple ad networks, to serve online display ads on YouTube, as well as potential restrictions placed by Google on rival services and how they serve online display ads.

“YouTube has a strong market position. It is possible that Google makes use of that to favor his services,” a source familiar with the investigation, who did not want to be named due to the sensitivity of the probe, told CNBC. The same source added that the EU’s work is still “very preliminary.”

YouTube’s ads made up around US$6 billion of Alphabet’s first-quarter revenue in 2021. That was 11% of the firm’s total sales for that period.

Google stated in the wake of the new probe, “We will continue to engage constructively with the European Commission to answer their questions and demonstrate the benefits of our products to European businesses and consumers.”

The EU has been at the forefront of tech regulation and has fined Google in the past after concluding three different investigations — into Google’s shopping services, Android, and AdSense — for antitrust breaches. These three EU cases are currently still under appeal.