US states join Facebook antitrust probe

Oct 22, 2019 | Social Media Marketing | 0 comments

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An antitrust investigation into Facebook has been backed by 47 attorneys general from across the US.

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced today that more states, districts and territories have joined the probe into the social media giant, focusing on Facebook’s dominance in the industry. 

Read more: MPs challenge Sir Nick Clegg over Facebook’s political ads rule change

The investigation is the second major antitrust probe into a US tech giant, following action taken by the majority of states – excluding Alabama and California – into Google’s advertising arm. 

James said today that the attorney general of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and the District of Columbia have joined the leadership team investigating Facebook. 

“Our investigation now has the support of 47 attorneys general from around the nation, who are all concerned that Facebook may have put consumer data at risk, reduced the quality of consumers’ choices, and increased the price of advertising,” James said in a statement. 

“As we continue our investigation, we will use every investigative tool at our disposal to determine whether Facebook’s actions stifled competition and put users at risk. 

The announcement comes after Damian Collins, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, wrote to Facebook vice president Sir Nick Clegg urging him to explain the company’s new political advertising rules. 

Read more: US states launch antitrust probe into Google

Facebook has changed its policy from banning “deceptive, false or misleading content”, to only banning adverts that “include claims debunked by third-party fact-checkers, or, in certain circumstances, claims debunked by organisations with particular expertise”. 

Collins warned the changes would “place a heavy constraint on [Facebook’s] ability to  combat disinformation online ahead of elections”.

Main image credit: Getty

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