PARIS (Reuters) – France’s competition authority fined Google (GOOGL.O) 150 million euros ($167 million) for anti-competitive behavior and for having unclear advertising on the Google Ads page.
The fine comes as France and other European countries maintain high levels of scrutiny on major U.S. tech companies such as Google, Facebook (FB.O), Apple (AAPL.O) and Amazon (AMZN.O), which are often criticized for having relatively low tax payments.
In September, Google agreed to pay close to 1 billion euros to French authorities to settle a fiscal fraud probe that began four years ago.
Google, which is the world’s biggest internet search engine, has also faced growing regulatory scrutiny about the content it promotes in search results and ads.
Isabelle de Silva, head of the French competition authority, told news conference that Google’s dominance in the online advertising business was “extraordinary”, with the U.S company having a market share of around 90% in that field.
Google said it would appeal the fine.
In January, France’s data protection watchdog had fined Google 50 million euros for breaching European Union online privacy rules.
The French watchdog stated in that January ruling that Google lacked transparency and clarity in the way it informed users about its handling of personal data, and had failed to properly obtain their consent for personalized ads.
($1 = 0.8997 euros)
Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; editing by David Evans