Antitrust complaint against Google: Chrome browser’s cancellation of cookies affects industry revenue, and the plan has been postponed

Time:2021-11-23

Recently, movement for a open web, an industry organization represented by advertisers, publishers and technology companies, submitted a complaint against Google to the EU, claiming that Google Chrome’s plan to cancel cookies is an antitrust act that will seriously affect the revenue of advertisers and publishers.

Antitrust complaint against Google: Chrome browser's cancellation of cookies affects industry revenue, and the plan has been postponed

It is understood that at the beginning of last year, Google announced that it would gradually cancel Chrome browser’s support for third-party cookies in the next two years on the grounds that “users put forward higher requirements for privacy and data control”. However, after stopping supporting third-party cookies, Google began to plan to promote its “privacy sandbox” technology.

In this regard, publishers and advertising technology companies have complained that Google’s so-called privacy sandbox technology will limit their ability to collect information from online users and eventually affect their ability to provide more valuable advertising.

As we all know, cookies have been the “cornerstone” of the digital advertising industry for 25 years, and third-party cookies are the most commonly used tool for accurate cross platform advertising.

Therefore, as the browser commonly used by most Internet users, Google Chrome (browser based on chrome technology, such as Microsoft edge browser, will also implement the policy of canceling cookies). The decision to “cancel cookies” can be imagined to subvert the current online advertising market.

Tim Cowen, a lawyer representing “open network movement”, also just said: “Google says they are strengthening the privacy of end users, but in fact, it is not, but a creepy data mining activity.”

Tim said that Google’s move will give itself more power. For example, they can decide which data can be shared on the network and with whom.

The European Commission confirmed yesterday that it had received complaints from “open network movement” and would assess them according to standard procedures.

It is understood that as early as June this year, the EU launched an investigation on Google’s online display advertising technology service. The European Commission also said at that time that it would investigate whether Google unfairly prevented competitors from accessing user data and cancelled cookie privacy changes.

Google declined to comment on the “open network movement” complaint, but reiterated its previous position that the “privacy sandbox” is an open measure designed to provide users with strong privacy and support for publishers.

At present, the British antitrust agency “CMA” and the US Department of justice are investigating Google’s “privacy sandbox” plan. CMA said that these measures may weaken the ability of publishers and disrupt the competition in the digital advertising market, so as to further consolidate Google’s market strength.

Affected by the complaints and investigation events, Google officially announced in June this year that it would postpone the timetable for Chrome browser to cancel third-party cookie tracking from 2022 to 2023, so that the digital advertising industry has more time planning and more privacy oriented advertising.