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New Senate bill seeks to challenge Google's ad dominance

New Senate bill seeks to challenge Google's ad dominance
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, speaks during a press conference with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, at the U.S. Capitol on April 7. Both are backing a bill challenging Google's online ad dominance on Thursday. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

May 19 (UPI) -- Republican and Democratic senators introduced legislation on Thursday aimed at trying to break apart Google's online ad business dominance.

Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee's Competition and Transparency in Digital Advertising Act was joined by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and across the aisle by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.

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The bill would ban companies that process more than $20 billion annually in digital ad transactions from participating in more than one part of the digital ad process. Those companies will also face new transparency rules.

Google's parent company Alphabet said it made $68.01 billion in revenue in the first quarter of this year, $54.66 billion of that from advertising.

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Google currently runs an exchange, where ad transactions are made and also runs tools to help companies sell and buy ads. The new legislation would make companies like Google pick one or the other.

Google said the legislation would not only hurt its company but also hurt consumers and those placing ads.

"Advertising tools from Google and many competitors help American websites and apps fund their content, help businesses grow, and help protect users from privacy risks and misleading ads," a Google spokesperson said, according to CNBC. "Breaking those tools would hurt publishers and advertisers, lower ad quality, and create new privacy risks.

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"And, at a time of heightened inflation, it would handicap small businesses looking for easy and effective ways to grow online. The real issue is low-quality data brokers who threaten Americans' privacy and flood them with spammy ads. In short, this is the wrong bill, at the wrong time, aimed at the wrong target."

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