A bipartisan group of 38 state attorneys general reportedly filed suit against Google on Thursday alleging anti-competitive manipulation of its search results.
The antitrust lawsuit alleges the tech giant is producing search results that favor its own products and services while pushing down competitors, according to the Washington Post. The suit is now the third major legal maneuver by regulators against the company in just the last two months, reported CNBC.
BREAKING: 38 state attorneys general file antitrust lawsuit against Google, challenging its manipulation of search results. It’s the third major antitrust challenge in weeks. https://t.co/kYNF8qap6b
— Tony Romm (@TonyRomm) December 17, 2020
The state lawyers leading the case claim Google has strengthened its search monopoly using anti-competitive tactics, including making deals to be the default search engine on certain browsers and devices and making companies pay to get to the top of search pages, according to the Post. (RELATED: Some Democrats Eye Chance For Big Tech Regulation Under Biden)
Offering companies better search results if they pay for them further solidifies Google’s competitive advantages by driving competitors to adopt their advertising services, the lawyers reportedly argue. The lawsuit alleges that Google’s anti-competitive tactics allowed it to become the most popular search engine in the United States, according to the Post.
Google is already facing two other lawsuits on antitrust grounds from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and a group of Republican attorneys general. The suit filed Wednesday by 10 GOP attorneys general is over Google’s advertising practices, and the DOJ claims Google violated antitrust laws in mobile search deals with Apple and Android.
Senior Vice President of Public Policy for Yelp Luther Lowe said in a statement that it was “gratifying” to see regulators take aim at Google after his company has advocated for more scrutiny on its competitor for years.
“We hope today’s action will begin to restore an internet that thrives on meritocracy and rewards innovation,” he said.
Google released a statement in response to the suit, arguing that redesigning its search function would be harmful to consumers.