In a blog post, Mr Tetzchner accused Google of censorship after the company abruptly and mysteriously pulled the plug on his AdWords campaign without prior notice. The campaigns were set up to promote his new web browser, Vivaldi.
The clarification for suspension, Mr Tetzchner explains, was “masqueraded in the form of vague terms and conditions”. He had to rearrange content on his website in order to lift the suspension, under the oversight of Google engineers. The accounts were reinstated after three months.
The timing of the suspension is highly suspicious, since it arrived two days after his article had been published by Wired. In the article, he lamented the lack of privacy, explicitly singling out Google and Facebook for indiscriminate data collection. He observed that personal data is being used to serve targeted ads and analyse their users’ preferences.
To Mr Tetzchner, Google’s behaviour is just another point in case. This is not the first time he had run-ins with Google.
He claims the company has changed a lot during the development of Opera – from a friendly, openly cooperating company to a hostile business. His view is that Google Docs have been made purposely incompatible with Opera. The situation worsened once Google came out with their own browser, Chrome.
He is certain that the suspension was a way of sending him a message – that he is playing with fire. His fears are that a company could use their monopoly to shape people’s opinions and censor their opponents, precisely what has happened in his case.
More sceptical commenters claimed that was a common occurrence and nothing to be upset about.
Regardless, the monopoly claims ring true at least. This June Google was slapped with €2.42 billion fine by the European Commission for monopoly abuse in the search engine market. Google gave precedence to its shopping service over other search results.
Mr Tetzchner is adamant that something’s off. If true, such an example of corporate bullying would be chilling to say the least.