Google had a secret program that gave the tech giant an unfair ad-buying advantage, according to a lawsuit against the platform by the state of Texas.
The program, which Google dubbed “Project Bernanke,” was insider trading, The New York Post reported.
Texas filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google in December 2020, which claims that Google was using anticompetitive tactics and “Bernanke” played a major part.
“Project Bernanke” tapped into bidding data collected from advertisers using its ad exchange to benefit the company’s own ad system, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Google did not disclose “Bernanke” to outside advertisers. The program generated hundreds of millions of dollars for Google, The Verge reported.
The name of “Project Bernanke” apparently refers to former Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke.
Some on Twitter are urging swift and hard action against Google.
One tweeter called on Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and his office to “Please destroy them in court.”
Google reportedly acknowledged the existence of Project Bernanke and wrote that details of its “operations are not disclosed to [ad] publishers,” but claimed it did not give the company an unfair advantage, according to unsealed documents.
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“By using Project Bernanke’s inside information on what other ad buyers were willing to pay for space, Google could tailor its operations to beat out rivals and bid the bare minimum to secure ad inventory,” The New York Post reported.
Through Project Bernanke Google took in hundreds of millions of dollars annually, the court filings allege.
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