Texas leads ten states in lawsuit over Google’s ad business

The state of Texas announced Wednesday that it will sue Google, accusing the search giant of maintaining an illegal monopoly in online advertising. Texas will be joined by Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, South Dakota, North Dakota, Utah and Idaho, according to reporting from Reuters. The suit was first announced in a video from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and the filing is now available online.

“It isn’t fair that google effectively eliminated its competition and crowned itself the head of online advertising,” Paxton said. Paxton argues that Google’s advertising practices and “anticompetitive conduct” give it too much power over the online advertising ecosystem, to the detriment of publishers.

Paxton’s name might sound familiar. He’s the state official who led a recent lawsuit disputing President-elect Joe Biden’s wins in the battleground states of Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin on behalf of Texas. The Supreme Court unceremoniously rejected the suit on the grounds that the state lacked the standing to file it. Paxton is also currently under investigation by the FBI for bribery allegations, making him a deeply controversial figure to lead such an effort.

The lawsuit from the coalition of states comes two months after the Justice Department filed its own antitrust suit against Google. The DOJ’s effort is focused on “anticompetitive and exclusionary practices” in the company’s search and advertising business.

Last week, 46 states announced a lawsuit against Facebook over parallel antitrust concerns. That suit, which the state of Texas is also participating in, alleges that Facebook built a monopoly through predatory business practices like buying its rivals. The FTC also filed its own lawsuit against Facebook last week, alleging that the company is a monopoly and that its acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp should be undone.