Big Tech has become the subject of increasing scrutiny by governments across the world in recent years, perhaps none more so than Google, which thanks to its dominance of the search business and its control of Android, the most popular mobile operating system, exerts a stupendous degree of control over the products and information we consume.
That influence has often resulted in the company fielding allegations of anti-competitive practices, with the latest of these being a lawsuit by YouTube rival Rumble, which claims that Google is “unfairly rigging its search algorithms” to favor YouTube, which Google owns, over its competitors (via The Wall Street Journal).
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The lawsuit cited a WSJ investigation from last year as proof of its claims. The investigation found that “YouTube versions [of videos] were significantly prominent in the [search] results in the vast majority of cases” compared to competing platforms, even when they had generated more views than the YouTube version.
The company also argued that Google’s insistence on having the YouTube app installed by default on Android devices has disadvantaged other video sharing sites, like Rumble, causing it to lose viewers and, therefore, significant amounts of ad revenues.
The company says that the “monopoly Google has obtained for its YouTube platform through its unlawful anti-competitive conduct” has forced Rumble to syndicate its content to other platforms like YouTube. The syndicated content has earned 9.3 billion views and $4.3 million in ad revenue since 2014, views that the company alleges would have gone to the Rumble website itself if Google hadn’t boosted YouTube’s ranking in its search results.
Rumble says that Google’s allegedly unfair practices have caused the platform to miss out on views and ad revenues to the tune of $2 billion.
The Alphabet subsidiary has been the subject of similar allegations from other sources as well. The US DOJ as well as 40 state attorneys are currently investigating the company over antitrust allegations, while both China and India are also in the process of launching their own investigations. And the company has, of course, been the subject of various fines by the European Union over the years.
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