Google’s third-party cookie plans face pushback from Germany’s largest publishers

The news: Google has met new opposition from a consortium of Germany’s most significant publishers and advertisers requesting that the EU halt the tech firm’s plans to phase out third-party cookies.

  • Germany’s federal association of digital publishers is among a number of groups arguing that Google’s removal of third-party cookies from the Chrome browser breaks EU law. The consortium includes Axel Springer, the corporate parent of Insider Inc.
  • The formal complaint, sent to the EU headquarters in Brussels on Monday, is an attempt to open a probe that could result in additional fines against Google.
  • The search giant has already received about $9 billion in fines over the past decade from three distinct antitrust cases.

Analyst take: “Consumers have little insight into where their data goes once it is shared, and much less control over it,” said Evelyn Mitchell, digital advertising and media analyst at Insider Intelligence. "If platforms would be more transparent about that and about how consumers can benefit from sharing their data, the threat of regulation could potentially be reduced."

Why it matters: The publishing industry makes money by targeting users with relevant ads based on their preferences as they consume content online. The deprecation of third-party cookies would be an unprecedented shock to that system.

  • Digital publishers can lose as much as 70% of their revenues when they are unable to sell inventory based on personalized advertising (and are competing against publishers that aren’t under the same restrictions), according to one report by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
  • This faceoff illustrates the difficulty in balancing increased scrutiny of tech giants with consumer privacy protections.


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