Axel Springer, other major publishers, demand action on Google post cookie plans | WARC | The Feed
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Axel Springer, other major publishers, demand action on Google post cookie plans
Imperfect as they are, third-party cookies aren’t owned and controlled by any one corporation; major German publishers including the Berlin-headquartered Axel Springer – owner of Bild, Business Insider, and Politico among others – are now demanding that the European Union step in, arguing that Google’s third-party cookie replacement will damage their businesses.
Hundreds of publishers from Germany have written to the EU’s competition commissioner, Margarethe Vestager, to argue that by ending third-party cookies, Google is breaking antitrust law, a complaint seen by the FT reveals.
Should a probe find the company guilty it could be liable for up to 10% of global revenues in fines.
At the business end of the online privacy debate is the question of how to keep people’s data on the internet private without tanking the businesses of the publishers that rely on cookie data to understand user preferences.
Early last year, Google started to talk about its FLoCs technique, which we covered here, which could replace individual-level targeting in what it argued was a privacy-safe way.
However, it is Google’s decision to demise the third-party cookie on its dominant Chrome browser that is the issue here, as any Google-led replacement would only strengthen its colossally influential position in the market. While rival browsers like Safari began blocking cookies in 2020, Chrome’s between 63% and 69% global market share would have a much bigger effect.
Because it is both consequential and controversial, Google has delayed its decision following regulatory scrutiny and similar outcry from publishers around the world. It is just one in a series of increasingly frequent complaints against it.
While there are some alternatives in the works and different existing techniques to consider, publishers resent having to march to the beat of Google’s drum.
“Publishers must remain in a position where they are allowed to ask their users for consent to process data, without Google capturing this decision. Google must respect the relationship between publishers and users without interfering,” the complaint says.
“Many other platforms and browsers have already stopped supporting third-party cookies but Google is the only one to do this openly and in consultation with technical standards bodies, regulators, and the industry, while proposing new, alternate technologies”, Google told the FT in a statement.
Find out more about the Future of Identity in WARC’s in-depth guide to the state of play in the identity space.
Sourced from the Financial Times, WARC. Image: Pexels
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