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Recode Daily: The EU is fining Google €1.5 billion for breaching antitrust rules

Plus: Instagram’s big opportunity in shopping, Uber expands its freight service to Europe, and Australian telecom companies ban 4chan and other sites for hosting Christchurch shooting videos.

EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager speaking into a microphone at a podium.
Big tech’s biggest critic, EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager.
Diarmuid Greene /Web Summit via Getty Images
Shirin Ghaffary is a senior Vox correspondent covering the social media industry. Previously, Ghaffary worked at BuzzFeed News, the San Francisco Chronicle, and TechCrunch.

Google is in trouble again with the European Union. In a press conference Wednesday morning, EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager announced the search giant will face €1.5 billion in fines for what the EU is calling “abusive practices” that unfairly restricted Google’s competition. Specifically, European regulators find fault with Google’s former practice of forcing customers of its online advertising search business not to accept advertising from rival search companies such as Microsoft and Yahoo. It’s the third multibillion-euro fine the EU has placed on Google in the past three years. [James Vincent / The Verge]

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Instagram has taken advantage of Amazon’s biggest weakness. Earlier this week, Instagram announced it will allow its users to purchase items directly within the app, which positions it to take on a part of the e-commerce business Amazon has struggled with: discovery shopping, or stumbling across something you didn’t expect to purchase and buying it. Instagram is already a place where consumer brands can get people to become organically interested in their products, without having to search for them. So, as Jason Del Rey writes, Instagram now “has the chance to do something no other social network — not Pinterest or Twitter — or giant online retailer, Amazon included, has done: build a big business inside a mobile app based on the kind of serendipitous impulse buying that brick-and-mortar malls have feasted on for decades.” [Jason Del Rey / Recode]

Uber is expanding its freight service to Europe. The ride-sharing company is best known for facilitating passenger trips, but it’s also been growing its business connecting truckers to shipping companies. It makes sense that Uber is expanding in this area: The trucking industry in Europe is a $400 billion market, and one the company says is inefficient. Uber freight, which is currently operating in the US only, will start in the Netherlands and expand into other European countries this year, according to the company. [Kirsten Korosec / TechCrunch]

Australian telecom companies are banning access to sites like 4Chan that still show footage of the New Zealand mosque shooting. Some of the country’s largest internet providers blocked access to websites like 4chan, 8chan, and Voat, plus the blog Zerohedge and video-hosting platform Liveleak. It’s a bold decision to outright block users from visiting these sites, but one that major ISPs are defending. “This was an extreme case which we think requires an extraordinary response,” Vodafone Australia said in a statement reported in the Australian Associated Press. [Jon Brodkin / Arts Technica]

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