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Google Under Fire for Blackmailing Websites

Published by: Dave Simmons on 24th Mar 2015 | View all blogs by Dave Simmons

Google Under Fire for Blackmailing Websites

 

Internet giant Google is feeling pressure again after an FTC report leaked revealing the company has threatened a handful of websites with pulling them from its search results if they didn't make content available for Google.  The report seems to show that evidence was found that Google was effectively blackmailing competing websites like Amazon and Yelp into allowing Google to use their data in Google search results.  If they refused, their sites would no longer show up on Google results.  The report recommended that charges be filed over the matter, but instead Google made some voluntary changes and the case was closed.  Officials in the European Union are still looking into allegations of unfair practices by Google, but consumer advocacy groups now want the FTC to re-open its case against Google in light of the leaked report.

 

Over the years, Google has been accused of numerous unfair practices, including using its Street View cars to collect Americans' Wi-Fi data without permission to do so.  The backlash had died down some in recent months, but this week's leaked FTC report has driven calls by consumer protection groups for the government to take another look at the tech giant.  One of those groups, a California-based firm called Consumer Watchdog, says the report makes it evident that the Senate's Antitrust Committee should re-open its probe into Google's practices and try to figure out how the company has eluded prosecution to this point.  "It is unfathomable that the FTC declined to sue the Internet giant, in the face of pervasive and persuasive evidence from its expert staff. The only way the FTC can redeem itself and regain public trust is to re-open the case. Indeed, Google's anticompetitive and abusive practices of favoring its own services in search results continue," read a statement from Consumer Watchdog.

 

Google continues to insist that it has done nothing wrong, and suggests that charges would have bben filed if it had.  The FTC, meanwhile, has not commented directly on the leaked report, but is standing by its decision to not prosecute Google.

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