Google’s CEO approved an agreement with Facebook at the heart of an antitrust lawsuit filed against the search giant by 16 states and Puerto Rico, according to part of the complaint published Friday.

The lawsuit, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, argues that Google acquired and abused a monopoly through the technology network used to display advertisements online.

When publishers started using an alternate system for selling their ad space, Google worked to undermine it by creating a similar system that it controlled, the lawsuit said. The states argue that Google has reached an agreement with Facebook to get the social network to join its efforts to “kill” the publishers’ competing plan.

In the new unedited portion of the lawsuit, filed in federal court, states said that Sundar Pichai, the company’s chief executive officer since 2015, “also personally signed the terms of the deal.”

The newly visible portions of the lawsuit also detail programs Google allegedly used to mislead buyers and sellers of ad space about the exact nature of the auctions they were participating in, thereby allowing Google to make more money.

A Google spokesman said the complaint was “still riddled with inaccuracies and has no legal basis”.

“We sign hundreds of agreements each year that don’t require CEO approval, and this was no different,” the spokesman said.

In another newly released piece, the states cite a February 2017 “Facebook document” that said Google wanted to “kill” the competing system and that Facebook “will help significantly by naming their product.”

At one point, Facebook employees working on the deal emailed Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and CEO, saying, “We’re almost ready to sign and need your approval to move forward.” The name of Mr Zuckerberg is still removed from the lawsuit, but his title is not.

In a statement, a spokesman for Meta, Facebook’s parent company, said the deal with Google “and the similar agreements we have with other bidding platforms helped increase competition for ad placement.”

The antitrust lawsuit is one of several filed by government agencies against tech giants over the past two years. The Justice Department and a group of states have sued Google for abusing an online search monopoly. This week, a judge said the Federal Trade Commission could file a lawsuit against Facebook. Both Apple and Amazon are also facing antitrust inquiries.

The judge in the case said Google has until Jan. 21 to respond to the latest version of the lawsuit. Google plans to ask the judge to dismiss the case, its spokesman said.



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