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“Google Agrees to $700 Million Antitrust Settlement, Offering Compensation to Washington State Play Store Users”

“Google Agrees to $700 Million Antitrust Settlement, Offering Compensation to Washington State Play Store Users”

In a significant development in the tech industry, Google has reached a substantial $700 million settlement in an antitrust case, which also includes a compensation plan for Play Store users in Washington State. This settlement, marking an important step towards addressing antitrust concerns, has the potential to impact users and the tech giant alike.

The lawsuit, which began in 2020, alleged that Google had engaged in anticompetitive behavior by monopolizing its Android operating system and the Play Store, stifling competition, and limiting consumer choice. The tech behemoth had faced allegations of imposing restrictive policies on app developers, making it challenging for them to distribute their apps through alternative app stores or directly to users.

As part of this settlement, Google will not only pay $700 million but will also introduce several changes to its business practices. These changes aim to promote a more open and competitive app ecosystem for Android users in Washington State and beyond.

One of the most significant aspects of the settlement is the compensation plan for Play Store users in Washington State who have been affected by Google’s alleged anticompetitive practices. Google has committed to providing $50 million in Play Store credits to users in the state. This means that eligible users will receive credits that they can use to purchase apps, games, or other digital content on the Play Store. While the exact criteria for eligibility are yet to be determined, this compensation is undoubtedly a step towards addressing the harm caused to consumers.

Furthermore, Google will also make changes to its app distribution policies. It will allow developers to inform users about alternative app stores and payment methods, providing them with more choices. This move is expected to encourage competition among app stores and potentially lead to better pricing and services for consumers.

Additionally, Google will establish a $150 million fund to support app developers. This fund will focus on improving the quality of apps available on the Play Store and nurturing innovation in the Android app ecosystem. It is intended to create a fairer environment for developers to thrive and offer users a broader range of apps and services.

As part of the settlement, Google will also enhance its transparency regarding its app review process. This will provide developers with clearer guidelines and more predictable outcomes when submitting their apps for review. It aims to eliminate any arbitrary or discriminatory practices that may have existed in the past.

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who played a key role in pursuing this case, expressed his satisfaction with the settlement. He stated, “This settlement sends a clear message that antitrust violations will not be tolerated, and that tech giants like Google must be held accountable for their actions.” He also emphasized the importance of ensuring a competitive market that benefits both consumers and developers.

Google, in its response to the settlement, expressed its commitment to making improvements while continuing to innovate and provide a safe and secure app ecosystem for Android users. The tech company acknowledged the importance of fostering competition and stated its willingness to work with regulators and stakeholders to achieve these goals.

The settlement’s impact extends beyond Washington State, as it sets a precedent for addressing antitrust concerns in the tech industry. It underscores the need for tech giants to reassess their practices and policies to promote fair competition, protect consumers, and support the growth of app developers.

Google’s $700 million antitrust settlement, along with its compensation plan for Play Store users in Washington State, represents a significant development in the tech world. It demonstrates a commitment to rectifying alleged anticompetitive behavior and promoting a more open and competitive app ecosystem for Android users. As the tech industry continues to evolve, this settlement serves as a reminder of the importance of fair competition, consumer choice, and innovation in the digital age.

$7 million class action settlement for Google Adwords invalid activity

Google agreed to pay $7 million to settle charges that it did not reimburse or credit its AdWords advertisers for fraudulent conduct/invalid activity.The 7$ million class action settlement helps Google AdWords advertisers who were charged for clicks on ads displayed on DoubleClick Ad Exchange websites. Between the timeline December 13, 2013, to April 28, 2022, whose accounts were not subject to an arbitration clause in their terms.

Businesses can advertise on Google search results using Google Ads (Google Adwords). These advertisements show up in pertinent searches and bring in customers for businesses.

Although these adverts can be helpful for companies trying to draw in clients, Google may not adequately reward advertisers. For example, according to a Google AdWords class-action lawsuit, Google refused some advertisers refunds or credits for clicks or impressions resulting from “invalid activity” or a breach of Google standards.

Plaintiffs contend that Google should have provided a refund or credit when clicks or impressions were discovered to result from fraudulent sources. In addition, the rules of Google’s advertising, the California False Advertising Law, and the California Unfair Competition Law were allegedly broken by failing to comply.

Despite refusing to acknowledge wrongdoing, Google consented to settle this class action lawsuit for $7 million. In addition, class members will receive a cash award under the terms of the Google AdWords settlement.

According to the money that class members have spent (on Google AdWords advertisements) on any of the DoubleClick Ad Exchange publisher site, each payment will represent a proportionate share of the net settlement fund. At this moment, there are no payment projections available. But the settlement excludes any payment from class members with less than a $1 proportional share of the settlement fund.

Now the question arises of who qualifies for the settlement? The settlement helps Google AdWords advertisers who were charged for clicks or impressions on ads that appear on DoubleClick Ad Exchange websites. The timeline for that is between December 13, 2013, to April 28, 2022, but whose accounts were not subject to an arbitration clause in their terms. Class members must submit a valid claim form by August 30, 2022, to be eligible for a payout from the Google AdWords settlement.

After settlement payments have been distributed, any extra money will be given to the non-profit advocacy organization Public Justice. The deadline date is August 20, 2022. The settlement’s final approval hearing is slated for October 27, 2022.

Google Will Pay $7 Million in False Ad Clicks

Google accepts to pay its AdWord advertisers $7 million. The settlement covers the claims that Google did not commit to paying some AdWord advertisers for clicks and impressions from invalid activity.

When advertisers use Google Ads, every click from a client means they get many conversions or profits for their businesses. Unfortunately, sometimes Google doesn’t give them the proper compensation; hence, they charge them for the ads.

However, Google agreed to pay the settlement, but it has not accepted any wrongdoing on the issue.

Class Members Eligible for The Settlement

The beneficiaries will be advertisers who have operated AdWords accounts between 12/13/2013 to 4/28/2022. The accounts should not be subject to arbitration clause terms and must have been billed for clicks and ads.

AdWords advertisers argue that when Google found out there were invalid activities, they could have given out a refund. Failure to do that means there was a violation of advertisement terms by Google. California False Advertising Law supports this argument.

How the Refund Will Be Shared

According to Google, every payment will represent a specified percentage of the net settlement fund. That will be determined by how much each class member spent on Googe AdWords advertisements and has appeared on any publisher’s website of the DoubleClick Ad Exchange.

They can collect their refund as cash though it should be above $1. However, the class members with amounts below $1 will not get any refund. Notably, when Google refunds all the affected, the remainder will be given as a donation to Public Justice.

When is the Deadline?

Google announced that the deadline for exclusion is on 20/8/2022, and the final settlement hearing is on 27/10/2022. The class members are required to submit their claims by 30/8/2022.

Are there Any Potential Reward?

Google will discuss that, but so far, there is none.

How Do You Claim?

Class members who qualify should use a claim form found on the settlement website. Those who don’t qualify are advised to avoid filling out the form because it is illegal. It will also affect other class members because it is false. If members wish to know whether they are eligible, they can go through the Settlement Administrators Website and get the answers from FAQ.

San Bernardino attack Victims Sue Google, Facebook, Twitter over aiding Terrorism

Family members of the San Bernardino attack victims are suing Twitter, Facebook and Google accusing them of providing platforms that aid terrorists. The lawsuit filed on behalf of families of three of the victims of the December 2nd attack mirrors similar suits filed in cases involving terror attacks in Orlando and Dallas. The Lawsuit filed in a Los Angeles’ Federal court accuses the 3 tech giants of aiding and supporting terrorism by providing material support to these groups and are liable for the death of several victims of the December 2, 2015, attack.

The ISIS supposedly inspired Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook, the couple that carried out the attack. According to authorities, Malik had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State Group on her Facebook page around the shooting time, which wounded 22 people.

The same law firm filing this suit has sued the same companies severally, with some of their lawsuits being dismissed because federal laws shield online providers from taking responsibility for the content posted by their users.

The lawsuit claims that without YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, the tremendous growth of the Islamic State Group would not have been remotely possible. It also claims the tech giants are liable for aiding & abetting acts of terrorism as well as providing support to designated foreign terror groups.

The law filed against the tech giants was on behalf of Tin Nguyen, Nicholas Thalasinos, and Sierra Clayborn, who were among the 14 killed by the terrorist duo of Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook. On Dec. 2nd, the couple targeted a Christmas party in San Bernardino that left 14 people dead and 22 others injured.

Currently, Facebook and Twitter claim to be doing everything in their power to prevent such instances where terror groups use their sites. All three companies have expressed their sympathy to the victims of the unfortunate event, and they have stated that they are not liable for the terror attack. They also argued that the families of the victims relied on a speculative chain of events to blame the tech giants for gunmen’s self-radicalization.

The companies further stated that accepting such claims would expose online platforms to possible liability for every terrorist attack in the world. Simply because the terrorist are affiliated with the online platforms does not mean that they supported the terror attack.

Shortly after the attack, James Comey-FBI Director- said that there was connected to a larger terror network although there were signs foreign terrorist organizations inspired them. Comey also said that the internet allows the opportunity for users to consume information and radicalizes.

Investigators also uncovered private messages sent by Malik to a Facebook group of Pakistani friends, pledging her support for Islamic Jihads and expressed her desire to join their fight. On the day before the shooting, Malik used Facebook to pledge her allegiance to ISIS. Facebook stated that they saw they post and alerted the FBI before they took it down.