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updated: 1/7/2013 6:28 AM

Furor over French move to block online ads

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Associated Press

PARIS -- France's government says it has persuaded a leading Internet provider to stop blocking online advertisements -- a controversial move that would have hit online search giants such as Google.

The French minister for the Internet economy, Fleur Pellerin, met Monday with leading figures from the online industry and an executive from Internet service provider Free to try to defuse tensions over the issue.

Free last week started automatically blocking ads for some users. Many Internet companies such as Google earn big revenues from such ads while offering searches or other services for free.

Pellerin told reporters afterward that Free had agreed to abandon the policy, saying "no lone actor can jeopardize the system in a unilateral way."

Free officials did not immediately offer comment.

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