In response to the news Google issued the following statement:
The source also intimated that the probe would be focused “on the intersection of privacy and antitrust”, but did not give any further detail.
In July, the US Justice Department announced that it would begin a broad investigation into the possible anticompetitive practices of the largest technology companies. It has been considered likely that Google, Amazon, Facebook and possibly even Apple would be in the crosshairs.
The Federal Trade Commission, who are also responsible for the enforcement of antitrust violations, is looking into Amazon and Facebook and whether they have abused their dominance in online retail and social media, respectively.
Google, after having large fines levied against them in Europe in March for antitrust violations relating to online advertising, will now face the task of changing the outcome of similar accusations of misconduct in the US.
Amazon also has had difficulties coming out on top in European cases. Only yesterday in Paris, the Commercial Court handed down a verdict against the online giant, resulting in a 4 million euro fine and a demand that 7 key clauses in their agreement with “marketplace seller partners” be brought into compliance with French laws.
Meanwhile, Facebook is also under scrutiny as they are under investigation by the FTC for a potential breach of antitrust regulations. Similar to Google in the European case mentioned above, the probe into facebook involves its social media, digital advertising and mobile applications.
In a separate matter, Facebook is also under scrutiny by the European Commission in questions relating to its new Crypto Currency “Libra”. A more general inquiry into its possibly anticompetitive behaviors within the EU in also underway.
Overall, it appears likely that these various probes are only the beginning, as all of the massive tech companies mentioned are already the target of governments and politicians, particularly in the US and Europe.
In a peculiar twist, both Republicans and Democrats in the US seem to agree on at least one thing, that these companies are too big and too powerful and should be investigated at minimum and potentially targeted in antitrust actions for illegal behaviors.
The Trump Administration, AOC, Elizabeth Warren, even Joe Biden have come out in favor of breaking up big tech at the hands of the government, after serious violations of antitrust law have been established.
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