Market Overview

New York AG Confirms Antitrust Investigation Into Facebook, Google Is Reportedly Next

New York AG Confirms Antitrust Investigation Into Facebook, Google Is Reportedly Next

New York State Attorney General Letitia James said Friday that her office is commencing a multistate antitrust investigation into Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB), and saida similar announcement relating to Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) could come Monday.

What Happened

A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers are looking into Facebook for potential antitrust issues, James said in a statement.

The investigation will focus on actions by Facebook that potentially unfairly leverage its dominance to stifle competition and put users at risk, she said.

"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." 

Attorneys general from Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and the District of Columbia are joining the investigation. 

Separately, sources told The Wall Street Journal that state attorneys general will formally launch antitrust probes into Alphabet's Google unit. The probe could be confirmed as soon as Monday outside the Supreme Court and include around three dozen state attorneys general. 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton could take the leadership role and focus on Google's digital advertising markets, WSJ said in its report. 

Why It's Important

Facebook is no stranger to finding itself in the cross-hairs of lawmakers. The social media giant recently paid $5 billion to settle a Federal Trade Commission complaint relating to personal information collection techniques.

On its end, Google told WSJ in a statement that its platforms "create more choice for consumers, and support thousands of jobs and small businesses across the country."

What's Next

State and federal investigations are unlikely to be formally coordinated although federal regulators have been talking with state attorney generals, WSJ wrote. Closer cooperation between the two levels of government "could develop" as multiple probes proceed.

Facebook shares were down 2.28% at $186.54 at the time of publication Friday, while Alphabet Class A shares were down 0.53% at $1,205.76. 

Related Links:

Facebook, FTC To Settle Privacy Charges For $5B

With Looming Federal Antitrust Probe Over Google, Bank Of America Still Likes Alphabet

Posted-In: Antitrust Letitia James social media The Wall Street JournalNews Legal Media Best of Benzinga


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