Google fined $593 mn by french antitrust agency over news content issue

Google will be fined 500 million euros ($593 million) in France after the search giant failed to follow an order to thrash out a fair deal with publishers to use their news content on its platform. The Alphabet Inc. unit ignored a 2020 decision to negotiate in good faith for displaying snippets of articles on its Google News service. “The sanction of 500 million euros takes into account the exceptional seriousness of the breaches observed and what Google’s behavior has led to further delay the proper application of the law,” said Isabelle de Silva, president of the French agency. Representatives at Google didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The confrontation between Google and newspaper owners and wire services has been a long time coming. European publishers have been pushing regulators for over a decade to tackle the power of Google, which has lured away billions of euros in advertising revenue. Complaints were lodged in France in 2019 by groupings representing newspapers and magazines as well as Agence France-Presse. Tuesday’s fine is the latest show of strength by the French regulator as it vies with its EU and German counterparts to be the region’s toughest watchdog of U.S. tech firms. In recent years, the authority has tended to order behavioral changes before the end of probes, which can drag on for years. While this has spurred other antitrust agencies to emulate the tactic, Google’s defiance risked jeopardizing it.

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