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US states embark on competition investigations of Google and Facebook

 US states embark on competition investigations of Google and Facebook

Attorneys generals for 50 US states and territories have announced an antitrust investigation of Google, embarking on a wide-ranging review of a tech giant that Democrats and Republicans said may threaten competition, consumers and the continued growth of the web, reports the Washington Post. Texas attorney general Ken Paxton charged that Google “dominates all aspects of advertising on the internet and searching on the internet”, though he cautioned that despite his criticism the states had launched an investigation for now and not a lawsuit. Paxton said the probe’s initial focus is online advertising. Google is expected to rake in more than $48 billion in US digital ad revenue this year, far rivalling its peers, while capturing 75% of all spending on US search ads, according to eMarketer. “They dominate the buyer side, the seller side, the auction side and the video side with YouTube,” he said. Some of those attorneys general appeared to raise additional complaints about Google, ranging from the way the company processes and ranks search results to the extent to which it may not fully protect users’ personal information. “Their early rebukes raised the stakes for Google, threatening top-to-bottom scrutiny of its sprawling business beyond just ads. Paxton promised the probe would go wherever the facts lead.” Another group of 11 state attorneys general has begun their own probe against Facebook, exploring whether it violates competition laws and mishandles consumers’ personal information. See more here and Facebook item here.

  • Monday, 16 September 2019

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