Consumer Watchdog called on the Justice Department in order to guarantee its ongoing antitrust probe of Google’s business practices, which includes an investigation into whether or not the company is manipulating its search results in favor of its own products.
The nonprofit advocacy group said they sent a letter to Christine Varney, Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Division, once news broke that the European Commission received three complaints against Google alleging that the company manipulated search engine results in an anticompetitive way.
“We know and appreciate that your department is conducting an ongoing antitrust investigation of various business practices by Google, some of that related to the proposed Google Books settlement,” wrote John M. Simpson, consumer advocate.
“Today I write to call upon you to ensure that included in that probe is consideration of how Google may use its search algorithms to manipulate Internet search results to favor its own products.”
With around 70 percent of the search market in the U.S., Consumer Watchdog stated that Google is the most effective as the Internet’s gatekeeper for majority of people. The group said that whether a website is ever visited can depend entirely on where it lands in Google search results.
“As part of your continued antitrust investigation we call on you to shine a light on Google’s black box, and require it to explain what’s behind search results,” Simpson wrote.
“If, as it appears, Google is tweaking results to further its narrow agenda, this anticompetitive behavior must be stopped.”