The antitrust cases against Facebook and Google might have some additional fuel. The New York Times says it has obtained documents from Texas’ antitrust lawsuit elaborating on a “sweetheart deal” (first mentioned by the Wall Street Journal) Google gave to Facebook in 2018, allegedly reducing ad competition. Nicknamed “Jedi Blue,” it reportedly gave Facebook favors in ad header bidding, where sites could solicit ad space bids from multiple exchanges at once, in return for backing Google’s Open Bidding approach to selling those ads.
The terms gave Facebook inherent advantages, according to the Times. Facebook had more time to bid for ads, direct billing deals with the sites hosting the ads, and help from Google to understand ad audiences. As part of the agreement, Facebook said it would bid on at least 90 percent of ad auctions when it could identify users, and promised minimum spending levels up to $500 million per year. It also asked Google to avoid using bid info to skew ad auctions in its favor.
POINTS AND FIGURES: Social Media and Taking Risk. “Social media has bigger ramifications than just changing societal norms for the worse. It limits risk-taking. It limits innovation. It eliminates the will to discover and try. Social media makes everything public.”