Google is rushing to post ads, emails and targeted social media to Brussels politicians and officials, making last effort to change the EU’s new law on Big Tech.
As EU policy makers finalize the Digital Markets Act (DMA), executives at Google headquarters in Silicon Valley relax some of the legislation that could have serious business implications. We are strengthening our efforts to do so.
“California’s top executives have always known about DMA, but they’re just awake now,” said one Google insider.
This campaign includes direct lobbying by Google, but also lobbying by several industry groups funded by search engine giants.
Kim van Sparrentak, a Dutch MEP, said he noticed a significant increase in lobbying in recent weeks, with a message that suppressing Google would hurt small businesses.
She said she was invited to discuss her views with Google when she chose, and was invited to an event hosted by Google about the benefits of digital marketing for small businesses.
She also lobbied from the Connected Commerce Council, which partners with Google and Amazon, and said in a letter signed by a small business owner, “Don’t make my business difficult.”
Other MEPs and officials said their Twitter feed was recently filled with ads from the tech lobby group on issues that Google is particularly concerned about. “My feed is on the overdrive,” said one EU diplomat.
IAB Europe led one of the campaigns against the proposed ban on targeted advertising on Twitter and industry newspapers.
Alderik Oosthoek, policy adviser to the European Parliament, said: On twitter..
The Digital Markets Act, which has been well underway through the European Parliament and is likely to come into force in early 2023, aims to curb the power of Big Tech’s “gatekeepers.” Companies such as Google where the platform dominates the online economy. Last week, the German competition watch agency officially defined Google as a “gatekeeper” and opened it up for stricter domestic surveillance.
Google is concerned that the law prohibits promoting its businesses on search results pages, such as travel and hospitality comparison services. This is a technique called “self-priority”.
This could force Google to “radically change the design of common search pages,” said Thomas Hoppner, a law firm at law firm Housefeld.
Google’s sense of urgency is exacerbated by important legislation defeat At the end of last year, a general court in Luxembourg fined the company € 2.42 billion for antitrust violations for promoting its own shopping comparison service that outperforms its rivals in search results.
A few weeks after the ruling, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet, discussed the case and future technology regulations with EU digital and competition director Margrethe Vestager at a virtual conference.
Separately, Alphabet’s Head of Global Affairs, Kent Walker, held a meeting similar to other high-level regulators, including EU Vice President Vera Jourova.
Thomas Vinje, Legal Advisor Fairsearch“The business model relies on putting competitors at a disadvantage and favoring their own services in search results,” said the court ruling and DMA as a threat to Google.
Although some adjustments have been made since the first fine in 2017, Google has not yet implemented any further changes to its search page in the light of the Luxembourg ruling.
Apart from this, Google is concerned that the EU ban on targeted advertising is being driven by one block of MEP, but currently the general position has not reached a complete ban. ..
“MEP’s position on targeted advertising is strange,” said one close to Google, adding that such a ban would lead to more pop-up windows asking for consent.
by EU Transparency Registration, Google will invest about € 6 million in lobbying activities in 2020, with about eight in-house lobbyists in Brussels, as well as outside lawyers and consultants. Last year, after it was revealed that Google was coordinating plans, it was forced to apologize to the EU Commissioner Thierry Breton, who is also in charge of digital regulation. “Pushback” I’m against him.
Intense lobbying may not have the intended effect. “They are bad guys at the moment,” said a parliamentary assistant involved in the DMA debate. “Everything that comes from them is a bit tricky and it’s hard to justify why it’s included in the law.”
Andreas Schwab, a prominent Google long-time critic who led the DMA debate in Congress, said the company’s efforts were “a little too late” to make a big impact.
“I feel like they’re worried,” said Schwab, who met Google Walker a few weeks ago. “And they should be.”
Google says: “European people should be able to enjoy the best services Google can build. Some of the DMA and DSA suggestions are clear. [Digital Services Act] It has a direct impact on us and influences the way products innovate in Europe. We know that we are interested in balancing and that our users and customers also care. Like many others, we have been openly and constructively involved with policy makers throughout the legislative process to broaden our perspective. “
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