Multiple states are now investigating Facebook over possible antitrust violations.
The announcement was made Friday morning by New York’s attorney general, Letitia James. She’ll be cooperating with seven other states and the District of Columbia in the bipartisan investigations. The other states involved are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, and Tennessee.
BREAKING: I’m launching an investigation into Facebook to determine whether their actions endangered consumer data, reduced the quality of consumers’ choices, or increased the price of advertising.
The largest social media platform in the world must follow the law.
— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) September 6, 2019
According to a press release put out by James’ office, the investigation “focuses on Facebook’s dominance in the industry and the potential anticompetitive conduct stemming from that dominance.”
Additionally, James said in the release:
“Even the largest social media platform in the world must follow the law and respect consumers. I am proud to be leading a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general in investigating whether Facebook has stifled competition and put users at risk. We will use every investigative tool at our disposal to determine whether Facebook’s actions may have endangered consumer data, reduced the quality of consumers’ choices, or increased the price of advertising.”
But Facebook isn’t alone. Texas attorney general Ken Paxton will lead an even larger group of AGs in investigating Google, the Wall Street Journal reports. This probe, like Facebook’s, will be bipartisan and will include the participation of as many as three dozen additional attorneys general.
The investigation is expected to be announced on Monday in front of the U.S. Supreme Court and, according to the WSJ‘s sources, “will examine the impact of Google on digital advertising markets … as well as potential harms to consumers from their information and ad choices being concentrated in one company.”
Speculation about probes into Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple has been roiling for months, including building pressure on federal officials to conduct their own investigations. If any such probes take place on the federal level, the Justice Department would oversee probes involving Google and Apple, while the Federal Trade Commission would lead investigations into Amazon and Facebook.
Suffice to say, even as the weather cools down, the pressure on these tech companies will continue to heat up, especially with 2020 candidates upping their “break up Big Tech” chatter.