French court upholds 150 mln euro fine against Google for opaque ad rules

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PARIS, April 7 (Reuters) - A French court of appeals upheld a 150 million euro fine levied against Alphabet's Google (GOOGL.O) for abusing its power over the treatment of advertisers, a spokesperson for the U.S. firm said on Thursday.

France's antitrust watchdog, which levied the fine in 2019, said in its decision then that Google applied opaque advertising rules and changed them at will.

It was the first penalty imposed by the competition authority against Google.

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"Following the (French competition authority's) original decision we already made some changes to make these policies even clearer and will now study the court's ruling in detail and consider our next steps," Google's spokesperson said.

Two of the watchdog's orders that accompanied the 150 million-euro fine were overturned, Google said.

The first revoked an order that compelled it to put in place a tool allowing French consumers to file complaints.

The second overturned order made it compulsory for Google to issue an annual report detailing the number of websites whose Google Ads accounts were suspended for breaching its rules and the nature of the rules that were breached.

Google Ads is the gateway for advertisers that wish to appear in the sponsored section of search results.

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Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain Editing by GV De Clercq and Chizu Nomiyama

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