ExchangeWire on Google's €25bn lawsuit, Meta's Responsible Innovation team, and Roblox

On this week's episode of The MadTech Podcast, ExchangeWire's Hannah Dillon is joined by Lindsay Rowntree and Mat Broughton to discuss Google's latest run in with EU and UK regulators, Meta disbanding their Responsible Innovation team, and Roblox exploring advertising.


Google faces €25bn lawsuit in UK and EU over digital advertising

Will this lawsuit make a dent in Google’s operations? Or is it more of the same? What does Google’s failure to comply with regulators suggest?

Regulators in the UK and EU have accused Google of anti-competitive behaviour in the digital advertising market, serving the tech giant with a €25bn (~£21.6bn) lawsuit.

The California-based company faces accusations of abusing its position as a key player in ad tech by coordinating ad auctions between publishers and advertisers in alignment with its own interests, costing business up to £7bn.

The lawsuit is not the only legal headache for Google this week, as the tech giant failed to turn in a €4bn fine imposed by the EU for using its Android operating system to stifle rivals.


Meta disbands Responsible Innovation team

What brought this about? What does this say about Meta’s outlook on their own responsibility?

Facebook-parent Meta has called time on its Responsible Innovation team. The team, which comprised over twenty staff, including a mix of engineers and ethicists, worked alongside Meta’s product teams and external privacy specialists to identify and resolve potential issues with Facebook and Instagram.

Eric Porterfield, communications director, social impact at Meta, commented that the firm remains committed to the goals behind the Responsible Innovation team, but that its resources would be better placed invested in issue-specific teams.


Roblox moving into advertising

Is this the real metaverse proving ground? What are the possibilities for advertisers? Is Roblox moving towards advertising proving ground for the metaverse?

At its annual developer conference, gaming giant Roblox announced plans to debut ads on the platform, moving beyond its traditional virtual goods and services and diversifying into the ad market. 

The platform, which boasts over 52m users worldwide, is planning to experiment with its own ad format ‘portals’. Despite its size, the company has endured a tough year, revenue growth has slowed to 30% and the company revealed that it relies on the sale of virtual currency Robux for “substantially all of our revenue.”

“We have an amazing transactional economy, and we will continue to invest in it,” chief product officer Manuel Bronstein said. He characterised the company’s push into online ads as a “good strategic bet” that’s “early” in its development.