Four more states and one territory have joined a bipartisan antitrust lawsuit against Google, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced in a Tuesday press release.
Alaska, Florida, Montana, Nevada, and Puerto Rico have joined the lawsuit, bringing the total number of plaintiffs on the case to 15. Texas leads the lawsuit, which was originally filed in December by a coalition of 10 states. The amended complaint was filed Monday in the Eastern District of Texas.
“Today’s filing underscores the broad consensus that Google’s practices require review and swift action under antitrust and consumer protection laws,” Paxton said in the press release. “Our coalition looks forward to holding Google accountable for its illegal conduct and reforming Google’s practices in the future. And we are confident Google will be forced to pay for its misconduct through significant financial penalties.” (RELATED: DOJ Sues Facebook, Alleges Company Discriminated Against US Workers)
I’m proud to announce that Florida, Nevada, Montana, Alaska, and Puerto Rico are joining the already massive lawsuit against monopolistic tech giant Google.
— Texas Attorney General (@TXAG) March 16, 2021
The complaint alleges that Google violated antitrust and consumer protection laws through anticompetitive behavior and its role in the online advertising industry. Google is accused of diminishing the ability to monetize content and increasing advertisers’ costs to unfairly harm consumers.
Google monopolized its power through an anticompetitive agreement with Facebook, making misrepresentations to its customers, and unfairly limiting competition, the lawsuit alleges.
“As internal Google documents reveal, Google sought to kill competition and has done so through an array of exclusionary tactics, including an unlawful agreement with Facebook, its largest potential competitive threat, to manipulate advertising auctions,” the lawsuit reads. The company allegedly “makes billions of dollars a year by deceptively using individuals’ personal information to engage in targeted digital advertising.”
In order “to cement its dominance across online display markets, Google has repeatedly and brazenly violated antitrust and consumer protection laws,” the complaint alleges.
“Attorney General Paxton’s latest claims mischaracterize many aspects of our business, including the steps we are taking with the Privacy Sandbox initiative to protect people’s privacy as they browse the web,” a Google spokesperson told the Daily Caller. “These efforts have been welcomed by privacy advocates, advertisers and our own rivals as a step forward in preserving user privacy and protecting free content. We will strongly defend ourselves from AG Paxton’s baseless claims in court.”
This is not the first lawsuit that the company will have to answer to. A complaint filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) alleges that Google violated antitrust laws when it made deals with Apple and Android. Another lawsuit was filed against Google in December when 38 states accused the company of manipulating search results to favor its own products and limit competitors.
Facebook has also been sued for alleged antitrust violations. In December, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and a coalition of 48 attorneys general filed a pair of twin lawsuits against Facebook, accusing the company of a wide array of violations, including illegally maintaining its monopoly power and exploiting users’ personal information.