According to reports, Google and Facebook have formed a secret arrangement to monopolise the ad industry

Google and Facebook might face legal action after freshly released court records showed that the two corporations, who you would imagine are bitter competitors, inked a covert deal to consolidate the internet ad business.

Texas and other US states are saying that Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai made a secret arrangement in 2018 that gave Facebook advantage in Google’s ad auctions, according to papers obtained by the Wall Street Journal and Politico.

According to ad marketing firm GroupM, Facebook, Google, and Amazon will dominate 90% of the US digital ad industry in 2020, up from 80% in 2019. They will also control over 50% of US ad expenditure. The fact that the “triopoly” has such a tight grip further adds to Google and Facebook’s vulnerability.

Domination!

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of this agreement. Similar claims of a secret contract between Facebook and Google were made by the Texas attorney general and others in December 2020.

Both corporations deny there was was a contract like this.

Mark Zuckerberg used to close meetings by exclaiming “Domination!” according to Steven Levy’s book about Facebook, a habit that corporate attorneys soon put a halt to, fearful of antitrust pressure, particularly in Europe.

But, from “move quickly and break stuff” through now, the philosophy has led Facebook (and now Meta) for as long as it has existed. The corporation has faced a lot of criticism in recent years, some of it well-deserved and some of it exaggerated, and the reported Google agreement seems plausible on those reasons.

In fact, the records are from a current court case, and some of the actors, such as Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, have publicly chastised Google, Facebook, and other large digital corporations, particularly in reference to Donald Trump’s conduct.

Just time can tell how much these charges, which have the support of multiple (and nonpartisan) state Attorneys General, will go, but the allegations are explosive and might provide insight into how Google and Facebook became so powerful.