Tuesday, August 3, 2021

France slaps Google with a record $593 million fine

In France, Google was fined 500 million euros ($593 million) for failing to comply with a court order to negotiate a fair arrangement with publishers to utilize their news material on its platform.

According to the Autorité de la concurrence on Tuesday Alphabet Inc. disregarded a decision made in 2020 to negotiate in good faith for the presentation of fragments of articles on its Google News service. The punishment is France’s second-highest antitrust fine for a single firm.

France was the first country to enact contentious new EU copyright legislation aimed at providing stronger safeguards to news organizations and ensuring that they are appropriately reimbursed for the online distribution of samples of their content.

France isn’t the only country attempting to make tech behemoths accountable for their use of news. Australia mandated that digital giants like Facebook and Google pay local news publishers earlier this year. With a $1 billion Google News Showcase to direct users to news material, Google has been progressively compensating publishers, albeit on its own terms.

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The company is facing a global onslaught as regulators around the world tighten their grip on the world’s biggest tech companies, focusing on its advertising, apps, and search businesses. At the time of writing this article the Google shares price was at $2,539.51 up 1.16% for the day.

France isn’t the only government chastising Google for underpaying journalistic organizations. Last year, Australia mandated that Google and Facebook pay media outlets for the right to publish their stories. Facebook initially resisted, restricting Australians’ ability to access or share news material, until eventually agreeing with the government.

In recent years, Google and other Silicon Valley businesses have been subjected to intense French scrutiny. Last month, the search engine agreed to pay a 220-million-euro punishment to settle a probe into its control over online advertising, and it received a 150 million-euro fine in 2019 in a case involving its Google Ads platform.

Last year, the authority slapped Apple Inc. with a record 1.1-billion-euro punishment after the company was accused of entering into anti-competitive agreements with two distributors over the sale of non-iPhone products including Apple Mac computers. Apple has filed an appeal against the fine.

Google’s response

According to CNBC Google said it was “very disappointed” by Tuesday’s decision.

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