October 25, 2021

DON’T BE EVIL: Google worked with Facebook to undermine Apple’s attempts to offer its users greater privacy protections, complaint alleges.

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.”

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 Google had agreed to cooperate if 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.

Rather than break them up — which for a social network isn’t really possible, anyway — why not go after their business model?

I’d suggest forcing them to share, say, 40% of their profits with the users whose data generates those profits, but I’m open to higher numbers.

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