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Google worked with Facebook to undermine Apple's attempts to offer its users greater privacy protections, complaint alleges

'The companies have been working together to improve Facebook's ability' to track users using Apple devices, the complaint alleges.

10/24/2021 11:20:00 PM

Google worked with Facebook to undermine Apple 's attempts to offer its users great privacy protections , 12 state attorneys general alleged in an update to an antitrust lawsuit against the search engine.

'The companies have been working together to improve Facebook 's ability' to track users using Apple devices, the complaint alleges.

October 24, 2021, 8:15 PM·Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and Apple CEO Tim Cook.Daniel Leal Olivas/WPA/AP, Justin Sullivan/Getty Images, & Karl Mondon/Digital First Media/The Mercury News/Getty ImagesFacebook and Google worked together to circumvent Apple's privacy measures, 12 state attorneys general argued in an updated legal complaint from 2020.

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Apple's privacy tools have made it harder for other tech companies to pinpoint users for their ad auction model.Regulators and other tech companies have targeted each other in a larger antitrust battle over user privacy, ad technology, and market dominance.

Google worked with Facebook to undermine Apple's attempts to offer its users great privacy protections, 12 state attorneys general alleged in an update to an antitrust lawsuit against the search engine."The companies have been working together to improve Facebook's ability to recognize users using browsers with blocked cookies, on Apple devices, and on Apple's Safari Browser," the amended complaint states. "Thereby circumventing one Big Tech company's efforts to compete by offering users better privacy." headtopics.com

The lawsuit was first filed by the attorneys general in December 2020, accusing Google of engaging in market collusion, and focused on claims that Facebook and Apple hadagreed to cooperateif their pact ever came under regulatory scrutiny.The attorneys general also accused Facebook and Google of engaging in an illegal advertising deal, with the latter leveraging monopoly power over its adtech business by helping Facebook make better bids in

ad auctions, which would make it easier for Facebook content to appear in more Google Ads."Facebook has long supported fair and transparent advertising auctions in which all bidders compete simultaneously, and the highest bidder wins," a Facebook spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "Facebook's non-exclusive bidding agreement with Google and the similar agreements we have with other bidding platforms, have helped to increase competition for ad placements."

According to a discussion between Facebook employees in 2019, the complaint says, the company was having trouble matching users on Apple's Safari browser. Google said Facebook's user match rates were the same as other ad auction parties, but Facebook employees noted that the search company was willing to use Javascript to help Facebook better recognize those users.

Story continuesThe attorneys general claimed Facebook essentially baited Google into the deal, but Google denies the lawsuit's claims.Representatives for Google and Apple did not return Insider's requests for comment Sunday.Apple in recent years has ramped up its user privacy efforts. In 2018, Apple installed privacy protection measures into its products, like Safari, which required websites to request tracking privileges from users and discard headtopics.com

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