Google’s “Don’t Be Evil” credo is about to take a major publicity hit. The Financial Times is reporting that the European Union on Wednesday will formally accuse Google of abusing its power as the world’s most used search engine. Specifically, the EU is poised to serve Google “with a formal charge sheet alleging that it breached antitrust rules by diverting traffic from rivals in order to favour its in-house services.”
The EU’s competition commission is making this move after a five-year investigation into Google’s business practices in which its rivals have alleged that the Internet giant has abused its position by discriminating against their websites to favor its own.
News that the EU will formally charge Google with antitrust violations comes after the Federal Trade Commission accidentally leaked a copy of its report on Google’s activities to The Wall Street Journal. In that report, the FTC alleged that Google stole content from rival Internet companies such as Amazon, Yelp and TripAdvisor and then threatened to remove them from its search results if they kept complaining about it.
In its report, the FTC said Google was using “its monopoly power over search to extract the fruits of its rivals’ innovations,” although the commission still neglected to press charges against the firm.