France’s competition authority fined Google 150 million euros ($166 million) on Friday for “abusing its dominant position” in the online ad market.
The agency said the U.S. tech company mistreated buyers of ads based on keywords. Methods used by its Google Ads platform are “opaque and difficult to understand” and the company applies them in an “unequal and arbitrary way,” it said.
It also ordered Google to clarify the rules for Google Ads and its procedures for freezing accounts, to avoid “brutal and unjustified” suspensions.
It’s the latest in a string of European fines against Google, which faces very little competition for search engine business across the continent. The company has been hit in recent years with multibillion-dollar fines imposed by European Union authorities for unrelated antitrust cases and is also facing increasing regulator pressure on other fronts in Europe and the U.S.
Google said in a statement that it would appeal, and that its advertising policies are designed to protect consumers “from exploitative and abusive ads.”