The US Justice Department has filed a civil lawsuit in the US state of Texas against Google, alleging that the company violated federal antitrust laws by conspiring to artificially inflate its search results.
The case stems from the US Federal Trade Commission’s investigation into Google’s use of search algorithms in its search advertising.
The FTC alleges that Google’s artificially high search results, which were calculated to reflect a higher quality of search results compared to competitors, led to consumers being more likely to click on links that offered better price comparisons.
The search engines were also alleged to have made misleading or false representations about the quality of the products offered.
“Google has used its dominant position in search advertising to favor its own products and services over those of competitors,” the complaint states.
“By artificially inflating its search rankings, Google has encouraged consumers to search for and click on products and search results that reflect its own content and results.”
According to the FTC, Google is also responsible for violating antitrust laws in other ways, such as making deceptive representations to consumers about the accuracy of its search algorithms and its ability to protect its users’ privacy.
In an effort to defend itself, Google said in the lawsuit that it would not take part in any settlement discussions.
Google’s lawsuit also accuses the company of engaging in conduct that violates antitrust laws, including engaging in deceptive acts to mislead consumers, in violation of the Federal Trade Commissions Anti-Competitive Bidding and Consumer Protection Act.
It further alleges that by using the Google search algorithms to determine search results for consumers, Google was making unfair and deceptive business practices.
The lawsuit says that Google has not only engaged in conduct, but also acted in violation, of the Sherman Antitrust Act.
The US Justice department is seeking to enforce a $13.9bn settlement with Google over antitrust violations, the filing said.
Google has already agreed to pay $1.1bn to settle with the FTC.