U.S. states to launch antitrust probe of Google

Ruben Fields
September 10, 2019

Fifty U.S. states and territories, led by Texas, announced an investigation into Google's "potential monopolistic behavior". Karl Racine, attorney general of the District of Columbia, said it was an "unusual setting" for a group that typically disagrees on issues ranging from gun control to reproductive rights. "It would raise questions, certainly". "I am proud to be leading a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general in investigating whether Facebook has stifled competition and put users at risk".

US President Donald Trump has also accused social media firms and Google of suppressing conservative voices online, but has not presented any evidence for his views. "And this investigation will initially focus on the capture of that information and whether Google embedded itself in every level of the online market ad sales to monopolize this industry".

The only two state attorneys general staying out of the probe was California and Alabama.

Google is facing a rapidly expanding set of antitrust investigations, not only by dozens of states but also by the Justice Department and worldwide enforcers, as governments grow increasingly skeptical of the company's dominance and take steps to rein it in.

The initial focus will be on Google's advertising practices.

"We have always worked constructively with regulators and we will continue to do so", it said.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt compared the online advertising market to buying a house, yet Google owned the house and the majority of houses in the country, and it represented both the buyer and seller in the deal.

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A Google booth at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Asked about the abstainers, Paxton said, "you might not be surprised that California, where Google's located", did not join the lawsuit. "But at the same time, it's created an ecosystem where people's whole internet experience is mediated through Google's home page and Google's other products".

The tech giant, along with Facebook, controls almost 60% of all digital advertising, according to eMarketer.

"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", James said".

"Now, more than ever, information is power, and the most important source of information in Americans' day-to-day lives is the Internet", Paxton said.

Another visibly huge piece of Google's business is its search platform, often the starting point for millions of people when they go online. Google has been accused that it unfairly hurts competition and consumers. "Google has been subjected to more than $8 billion in fines by the European Union in the last two years, approximately". Another acquisition of Google's, the system is the most widely used in the world. His peer-reviewed research found Google's algorithms can easily shift 20 percent or more votes among voters and up to 80 percent in some demographic groups.

The states' investigation arrives as the Department of Justice and FTC also are scrutinizing Big Tech, and DOJ has taken early interest in Google.

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