Warren Buffett Urges Federal Watchdog To Probe Google

(RoyalPatriot.com )- Silicon Valley tech companies that have too much power should look out: Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is out to get you.

This week, the senator said a federal watchdog group should investigate Google for allegations that they are participating in abusive manipulations of the digital advertising market.

Warren wrote a letter to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission urging them to investigate the tech giant. The allegations she believes they are violating is a secret program Google uses to give it an edge advertising-wise over other rivals in the game.

Google did this, she writes, through gathering large amounts of data over its advertising exchange. The program is called “Project Bernanke,” and allegations over it were revealed earlier in the year through court documents filed in an anti-trust case that is being led by the state of Texas.

Warren’s office shared a copy of the letter she sent this week, which reads:

“Given the power of a company like Google to unilaterally manipulate the online advertising market, it is critical that the CFTC ensures these new digital commodities are traded fairly and without harmful manipulation.”

In April, the Wall Street Journal published a report regarding Project Bernanke. The information came out because the documents weren’t redacted properly when they were filed and uploaded to the public docket. Google was later allowed to re-file the documents under seal.

Project Bernanke wasn’t disclosed to the publishers who sold digital advertisements through the ad-buying systems Google has. It generated hundreds of millions in revenue dollars for Google every year, the documents show.

According to the court documents, Texas is alleging that this practice is giving Google an advantage that is unfair over the rivals it has in digital advertising.

A spokesperson for Google criticized Texas’ allegations and Warren’s call for a full investigation. In a statement, the spokesperson said:

“Senator Warren’s letter relies on [Texas Attorney General] Ken Paxton’s mischaracterization of one of many improvements Google Ads has made to optimize advertiser bids. This was entirely implemented by Google Ads for buyers, using the kinds of data and strategies that are available to any buyer participating in an Ad Exchange auction.

“Like many other businesses in this highly competitive field, we constantly work to improve our products and compete more effectively. That’s the kind of behavior that increases competition and makes ads more effective for businesses large and small.”

Even still, Warren said the details that were reported in the court documents simply call for a full investigation by the CFTC, in addition to the investigations that are ongoing by state and federal regulators.

She wrote in her letter:

“The activity raises additional concerns that I believe may be within the CFTC’s jurisdiction and warrant close scrutiny.”

Officials from the CFTC didn’t respond immediately to various media requests for a comment.

In addition to the Texas case, state attorneys general and the Department of Justice are challenging Google regarding the market power the company wields.