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India imposes $21 million fine on Google for search bias

[JURIST] India's antitrust watchdog, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) [official website] on Thursday imposed [order, PDF] a USD $21.17 million fine (1.36 billion rupees) on Google for "search bias" and abuse of its dominant position.

The order was passed in response to filings by Matrimony.com Limited and Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) in 2012. In a press release [text, PDF], the CCI noted that Google, "being the gateway to the internet for a vast majority of internet users due to its dominance in the online web search market, is under an obligation to discharge its special responsibility."

In its 190-page ruling [text, PDF] the CCI said, "Not only does that cause direct harm to competitors in vertical markets, it also causes direct harm to other website owners, since their websites are moved down on SERP and hence, they receive fewer [sic] clicks as a result of lessened traffic. Further, this also harms consumers as they no longer receive the most relevant results at the top of SERP.

This is not the first time Google has been fined for discriminatory search practices. The European Commission fined Google €2.42 billion for antitrust violation [JURIST report] in June 2017 after determining it unfairly promoted its own shopping service above others.

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