News. Google has helped finance 100s of research papers to defend against regulatory challenges of its market dominance in the US, paying $5,000 to $400,000 for the work, The Wall Street Journal found.
Google uses the research in meetings with government officials, and sometimes even pays travel expenses for the professors to meet with congressional aides and administration officials, according to the former lobbyist in The Wall Street Journal. The research has been used, for instance, to deflect antitrust accusations against Google by the Federal Trade Commission in 2012. Last month, the EU anti-trust comissioner fined Google $2.71 billion for unfairly favoring its services over rivals’ in its search results – denied by Google.
According to WSJ, Google has funded roughly 100 academic papers on public-policy matters since 2009. Another 100 or so research papers were written by authors with financing by think tanks or university research centers funded by Google and other tech firms. Most of those papers didn’t disclose the financial support by the companies.
Case in Point
One example of a bought research paper and the results is this one:
Google controls and capitalizes on personal data of over 1 billion people, and that raised antitrust questions. Early last year, Daniel Sokol, a University of Florida law professor, published an academic paper arguing that Google’s use of the data was legal. “There is no cause for concern in this arena,” he wrote. The paper also noted that no companies funded the research.
“If they did,” Mr. Sokol said in a footnote of the paper, he and his co-author “would be sipping Mai Tais with our respective friends and families on a beach in Hawaii based on the proceeds of such a sponsorship. We are not.”