Legal officials from eight US states and the District of Columbia launched a joint investigation to determine whether Facebook engaged in anticompetitive behaviour and put user data at risk.
New York attorney general Letitia James said in a statement the probe is focused on Facebook’s dominance in the market and potential anticompetitive conduct stemming from that position.
She added the coalition will use “every investigative tool at our disposal to determine whether Facebook’s actions may have endangered consumer data, reduced the quality of consumers’ choice or increased the price of advertising.”
James is working alongside the attorney generals of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and the District of Columbia.
In a statement to CNBC, a Facebook representative said the company will work “constructively” with investigators and insisted it faces significant competition both in the US and around the globe. “People have multiple choices for every one of the services we provide” and can “easily leave our platform,” the representative said.
The announcement increases pressure on the social media giant, which revealed in July it is the subject of a separate antitrust investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission. The company is also a likely target for a big tech competition probe launched by the Department of Justice.
Google is expected to face similar scrutiny from state officials. The Wall Street Journal reported a coalition led by Texas attorney general Ken Paxton is expected to launch a probe into the search giant’s impact on digital advertising markets next week.