Google Faces Another Antitrust Lawsuit Over Search Engine Manipulation

New lawsuit, like an existing Justice Department lawsuit against the tech giant, targets Google’s 90% control over online search in the U.S.

Last Updated: December 17, 2020 @ 12:56 PM

Google is facing yet another antitrust lawsuit. Nearly 40 states filed an antitrust case against the tech giant on Thursday, claiming it rigs its search results to highlight its own products at the expense of competitors. This harms consumers, the states claim, because they end up missing out on the best deals possible.

“For decades, Google has served as the gatekeeper of the internet and has weaponized our data to kill off competitors and control our decision making,” New York Attorney General Letitia James tweeted. “While Google continues to make billions in profits, we’re all paying more for the services we use every day.”

The 38 states included in the antitrust lawsuit claimed Google has used its dominance over online search to manipulate information on topics ranging from home repair services to travel. The states also claim Google has used exclusive deals with companies like Apple — which Google pays billions of dollars to each year to be its default search engine on iPhones — to weed out competition. These anticompetitive moves, the states claim, have helped Google claim 90% of the online search market.

Thursday’s lawsuit comes just a day after Google was sued by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and several other states. That lawsuit called Google and its parent company, Alphabet, an “internet goliath” that uses “deceptive” ad practices to manipulate ad auctions, driving up the price digital advertisers pay. The lawsuit takes direct aim at Google’s core business, with the company bringing in more than $37 billion in ad dollars last quarter.

The new lawsuit also comes two months after the Justice Department filed its own antitrust lawsuit against Google, claiming the company’s dominance over online search has blocked competitors from gaining enough users to scale. (Read more about what antitrust experts make of that case¬†here.)

Google’s stock price was down 1% on Thursday to $1,740 per share.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.