This is the fourth major European investigation of Google, and this time the video-sharing site YouTube seems to have received special attention.
The European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, announced last week that it is concerned that Google prefers its own online display advertising technology services, which may violate EU antitrust rules.
As part of the investigation, the committee stated that it will “specially” review what it says is its “obligation” to use Google services (such as the Google Ads platform) to purchase online display ads on YouTube. Display advertising is a form of paid advertising that can be found on websites, apps, and social media. These ads come in many different formats and sizes.
It also stated that it will assess the “obligation” to use Google Ad Manager, a platform that facilitates the purchase and sale of ads on multiple ad networks, to place online display ads on YouTube, as well as services established by Google that potentially restrict users to competitors and how to run display ads online.
“YouTube has a strong market position. Google can use this to support its services,” a source familiar with the investigation told CNBC. He declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the investigation. The same source added that the EU’s work is still “very preliminary.” In Alphabet’s first-quarter revenue in 2021, 4,444 YouTube ads accounted for approximately $ 6 billion, representing 11% of the company’s total sales during the same period.
Google said 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.”