Facebook and Google Face New Antitrust Probes From State Attorneys General

Sep 7, 2019 | Social Media Marketing | 0 comments

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Attorneys General from New York and Texas are spearheading two separate multistate investigations into alleged anticompetitive practices at Facebook and Google’s parent company Alphabet.

New York’s investigation will focus on Facebook’s dominance among social networks and what that power led to—alleged failures in safeguarding consumer data and monopolistic advertising practices. 

“The largest social media platform in the world must follow the law,” State Attorney General Letitia James said on Twitter

Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia will join James in the probe, according to a statement from her office.

The Wall Street Journal also reported Friday that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton would lead a multi-state investigation into Google over alleged anticompetitive behavior, which would home in on the company’s impact on digital advertising markets and handling of consumer data.

Paxton’s office confirmed a “multistate investigation” looking at “whether large tech companies have engaged in anticompetitive behavior that stifled competition, restricted access, and harmed consumers” to The Daily Beast.

When asked about the state investigations, Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda told The Daily Beast, “We look forward to working with the attorneys general to answer questions about our business and the dynamic technology sector.”

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tech giants have come up against an increasing amount of regulatory scrutiny in recent months that echo the Department of Justice’s crusade against Microsoft two decades ago. The Justice Department has opened a broad antitrust probe into the technology industry, though it has not zeroed in on particular companies.

In July, the FTC fined Facebook $5 billion for mishandling users’ personal information, and just this week the FTC announced that it would fine YouTube $136 million for targeting children with advertising, though in both cases the fines were largely regarded as little more than a slap on the wrist.



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