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Justice Department sues Google for alleged advertising violations

The complaint claims that Google has been seeking to ‘neutralize or eliminate’ competition in the online ad space

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Attorney General Merrick Garland stands on stage during a news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington.

Attorney General Merrick Garland stands on stage during a news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. The Justice Department and several states have sued Google, alleging that its dominance in digital advertising harms competition.

Carolyn Kaster, Associated Press

The Justice Department, along with eight states, sued Google on Tuesday, “seeking to shatter its alleged monopoly on the entire ecosystem of online advertising,” The Associated Press reported.

The complaint claims that Google has been seeking to “neutralize or eliminate” competition in the online ad space.

“Monopolies threaten the free and fair markets upon which our economy is based. They stifle innovation, they hurt producers and workers, and they increase costs for consumers,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a news conference, per AP.

Has Google been sued by the DOJ before?

This is the fifth antitrust lawsuit that U.S. officials have filed against Google since 2020. Some of those claims include that “it abused its dominance over online search,” The New York Times reported.

What does Google say about the lawsuit?

Google spokesman Peter Schottenfels responded to the legal action, saying it “attempts to pick winners and losers in the highly competitive advertising technology sector,” according to the Times.

In response to Google, Garland said, “We don’t pick winners or losers. We pick those who violate the antitrust laws. Those are the people we sue,” per CNN.

The states participating in the lawsuit include California, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Virginia.

In 2021, an annual report detailed that Google generated $209 billion from advertising revenue. That number represents “more than 80% of its total revenue,” CNN reported.