Google and Facebook Labeled as Antitrust Co-Conspirators

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Google and Facebook in cahoots? According to a redacted version of a lawsuit filed by 10 states against Google last week seen by the Wall Street Journal, yes.

Alphabet's Google (GOOGL) - Get Report and Facebook (FB) - Get Report agreed to "cooperate and assist one another" if they ever faced an investigation into their pact to work together in online advertising, according to an unredacted version of a lawsuit filed by 10 states against Google last week.

The Wall Street Journal reported additional details it uncovered in the suit, including part of a recent draft version without redactions that it reviewed that provided more detail and context on findings and allegations in the court documents.

Ten Republican attorneys general, led by Texas, have alleged that the two companies cut a deal in September 2018 in which Facebook agreed not to compete with Google's online advertising tools in return for special treatment when it used them.

Google used language from "Star Wars" as a code name for the deal, according to the lawsuit, which redacted the actual name. The draft version of the suit reviewed by the Journal said it was known as "Jedi Blue," the newspaper said.

The lawsuit itself said Google and Facebook were aware that their agreement could trigger antitrust investigations and discussed how to deal with them, in a passage that is followed by significant redactions, according to the Journal.

For their part, both Google and Facebook denied they were - or are - working together illicitly, with a Google spokesperson telling the Journal that such agreements over antitrust threats are common.

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