47 attorneys general are now part of an investigation into Facebook on antitrust matters according to New York Attorney General Letitia James. The investigation will focus on Facebook’s dominance and potential anti-competitive conduct stemming from that position James announced on Monday.
“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 press release. “We will use every investigative tool at our disposal to determine whether Facebook’s actions stifled competition and put users at risk.”
The investigation launched last month with support from attorneys general from eight states — New York, Florida, Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee — and Washington DC.
They’re now joined by attorneys general from Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming and the territory of Guam.
As the world’s largest social network, Facebook has become a central force in many people’s lives online. It also owns photo app Instagram, messaging service WhatsApp and virtual reality company Oculus. The social network has been simply buying up its competition, and some, like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic contender for president, have suggested that it (and other big tech companies) should be broken up.
Facebook not only faces an antitrust investigation from these states. In June, the House antitrust subcommittee said it was launching an investigation of Facebook, Google, and other tech companies. The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice are also both reportedly investigating Facebook over antitrust concerns.
Facebook didn’t immediately respond to any request for comment because that’s what they do, they don’t reply to anyone. In September, the company publicly said it would work “constructively” with the attorneys general and engage with policymakers in a discussion about the competitive environment.
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