French officials have slapped Google with a hefty fine for unfairly suspending companies from its digital advertising platform.
The French Competition Authority issued the penalty of 150 million euros, or about $166 million, because it found the tech giant abused its market dominance by applying Google Ads rules “in an unfair and random manner,” according to a translated Friday news release.
Google suspended some websites from the platform while allowing others with similar content to continue, according to the authority. Officials also alleged that Google’s rules are opaque and hard to understand.
The authority ordered Google to clarify its advertising rules and its procedures for suspending advertisers.
A Google spokesperson said the company would appeal the decision and stood by its action against deceptive ads.
“People expect to be protected from exploitative and abusive ads and this is what our advertising policies are for,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
Google’s latest clash with French authorities comes as the company faces growing antitrust concerns in Europe and the US.
Google settled a fiscal fraud probe in September by agreeing to pay France nearly a billion euros, and the company was fined 50 million euros in January for breaking European Union privacy rules, according to Reuters.
Fifty attorneys general in the US have launched an antitrust probe focused on Google’s advertising business. The US Department of Justice has also launched a review of whether Google and other big tech firms have hurt competition or consumers.