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Regulators squeezing Google. Privacy watchdogs eyeing Facebook. Consumers flocking to ad blockers. It all adds up to a chilling climate in Europe that could get in the way of digital ad ambitions there, according to industry experts.
This week, Google was the latest, and perhaps the hardest hit, by the scrutiny overseas, as the European Union charged it with anti-trust practices by favoring its own Web properties in search results over rivals. Often, Google serves up results for shopping items to the detriment of e-commerce competitors, and it delivers instant reviews, keeping traffic away from rivals like Yelp.