Google must improve its conduct as scrutiny on its behaviour increases
By Content Director Saxon East
Google’s famous motto for its corporate conduct was ‘don’t be evil’.
If only it had lived up to its virtuous declarations.
The digital giant has been facing the wrath of regulators across the world, concerned about the firm’s monopolistic abuse of power.
In November 2021, the European courts upheld a €2.42bn (£2bn) fine issued to the company for favouring its own price comparison shopping service, which gave it an unfair advantage against smaller European rivals.
Across the pond, Google is in a legal battle over claims that it misled advertisers and publishers about the mechanisms of its ads auction - which decides which adverts are shown on search screens, as well as the order of displayed ads - enabling it to pocket millions in extra revenue from abusive practices.
In the UK, a new tech regulatory arm is being installed - the Competition and Markets Authority will gain a Digital Markets Unit - to enforce behavioural standards on both Google and its tech rivals.
The crackdown on Google has been a long time coming. For too long, the digital giant has been allowed to act with impunity.
Google must pay attention to every aspect of its business. For starters, Google could improve the way it filters out fraudulent advertisers.
For example, law firms have witnessed an increase in ad spoofing - this is contributing towards fraudulent motor claims as scammers diversify their crash for cash approaches.
Google ad spoofing is when fraudulent accident management companies pose on online search engines as the claims department for insurers - this is achieved by purchasing certain ad words on Google, for example.
Perhaps the new UK tech regulator, along with the pressure of international watchdogs, will force Google to improve who it allows onto its platforms.
A tech watchdog with teeth is going to be especially important as Google creeps into insurance once again with new products around health and employment.
Rival insurers and brokers must feel that Google - and for that matter, Amazon, Facebook or whatever other tech giant wants to enter insurance - are playing fair and by the rules.
Google cannot be a marketplace for fraudsters and villains. Even worse, Google itself must not become the chief protagonist in bad behaviour while advancing its favoured products and services.
Don’t be evil. Indeed.