Google confirms its search business faces new investigation in Argentina and ongoing probe in Korea

Google confirms its search business faces new investigation in Argentina and ongoing probe in Korea

Google has confirmed that its business practices are under investigation in South Korea and Argentina, according to a regulatory filing, reported by Bloomberg.

While the Korean investigation is ongoing, the probe Argentina is a new development, and the country’s anti-trust organisation is assessing issues around the use of paid-for ads on the search engine.

“The Argentinian Competition Commission notified us that they are conducting a preliminary inquiry into our search and search advertising services, and we are of course happy to answer their questions,” a spokesman told Bloomberg.

Last year, rumors suggested that the organisation was closely monitoring Google’s search ad system, which allows businesses to take out paid-for ads that appear at the top of its search results. However, the exact scope of the enquiry is unconfirmed.

Google officials revealed that the Korean investigation “started last year” but declined to provide further information. Officials with the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) are also not revealing details, as the organisation is not permitted to discuss ongoing cases.

Though it is not confirmed, the filing is likely to be a reference to the enquiry into the alleged blocking of third party search apps for Android, which began last April in Korea.

The case was initiated by search rivals Naver and Daum, and caused further controversy in January, when the KFTC threatened to fine the search giant for being obstructive with its investigations.

Google recently agreed to work with Korea watchdog KCC (Korea Communications Commission) to help Internet users in the country understand its new privacy policy, having come under pressure earlier in the year.

Earlier this month, an Australia court slapped the search engine giant with a fine for allowing search engine advertisers to mislead consumers. The incidents took place in 2006 and 2007, and Google says that it has since tightened its management of its in-search advertising service.

Google decline to comment further on the cases when we reached out to the company for clarification.

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