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South African Watchdog Targets Google In Antitrust Probe

 |  July 14, 2022

South Africa’s Competition Commission, which has been probing online markets for the past 14 months, has provisionally found that Google’s search-engine practices distort competition in the company’s favor.

Paid-for results that typically appear at the top of a Google search should be prominently labeled as advertising and the top of the page reserved for results based on relevance only, the antitrust group said in a statement. 

The inquiry also recommended the U.S. giant — part of Alphabet Inc. — allows competitors to compete for prominence in a search by having their own specialist units and with no guaranteed positions for Google’s own products. It’s also exploring whether Google Search should remain the default position on South African mobile devices.

Google will review the report, and work “constructively” with the Competition Commission to answer their questions, the company said in an emailed response to questions.  

“Our mission is to organize information and make it universally accessible and useful,” Google said. “That’s why we invest in products like Search, Gmail and Maps to help people in South Africa every day.”

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