Google is making a last-ditch effort to change the EU's incoming laws on Big Tech with a flurry of advertising, emails and targeted social media posts aimed at politicians and officials in Brussels.
As EU policymakers put the finishing touches to the Digital Markets Act (DMA), executives at Google's headquarters in Silicon Valley are stepping up their efforts to water down parts of the legislation that they fear may have a severe impact on their business. "Top executives in California have known about the DMA all along but they are only waking up now," said one Google insider.
The campaign includes direct lobbying by Google, but also by several trade associations that the search engine giant funds.
Kim van Sparrentak, a Dutch MEP, said she had noticed a marked escalation in lobbying in recent weeks, with the message that curbing Google would harm small businesses. She said she had been invited to discuss her views with Google, at a time of her choosing, and had been invited to an event organised by the company on the benefits of digital marketing to small businesses.
[...] One campaign against a proposed ban on targeted advertising, which appeared on Twitter and in the trade press, was led by IAB Europe. "I'm being targeted with a nearly unrecognisable ad aimed at EU officials promoting false info and solely referring to studies of IAB," Alderik Oosthoek, a policy adviser at the European Parliament, wrote on Twitter.
[...] Google is concerned that the legislation will prevent it from promoting businesses that it owns, such as its travel and hospitality comparison services, on its search results pages, a practice known as "self-preferencing". This could force Google to "change the design of general search pages fundamentally", said Thomas Hoppner, at the law firm Hausfeld.