Majority of US states back antitrust probe against Facebook | News | DW | 22.10.2019
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Majority of US states back antitrust probe against Facebook

The US state of New York launched a probe to determine if Facebook's actions "stifled competition and put users at risk." Some 47 out of the 50 American states have joined against the tech giant.

Facebook now faces an antitrust investigation from nearly all US states, after New York Attorney General Letitia James announced on Tuesday the addition of 45 out of 50 states and the territory of Guam to its probe into the tech giant's business practices.

The investigation comes as Facebook faces two other antitrust probes from the federal government, one led by the Justice Department and the other by the Federal Trade Commission.

"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 release.

"We will use every investigative tool at our disposal to determine whether Facebook's actions stifled competition and put users at risk," the statement added.

Facing scrutiny

Facebook has been under pressure from the US government and its regulatory organs over issues ranging from data privacy, fake news and advertising, to Facebook's plan to launch its Libra digital currency.

The inquiry against the tech giant began on September 6 and has garnered bipartisan support. Republican attorney general of Arizona Mark Brnovich said joining the Democratic state of New York meant states were "leading the way in ensuring digital platforms respect consumer privacy and do not engage in anticompetitive behavior."

"Even the biggest of the big tech companies should be held accountable, and that's what we're seeking to do with this investigation," Missouri Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt said of the New York-led probe.

Facebook has vowed to "work constructively with state attorneys general," saying the company welcomed "a conversation with policymakers about the competitive environment in which we operate," Will Castleberry, the company's vice president of state and local policy said in a statement.

But its founder Mark Zuckerberg has also been vocal about fighting government attempts to break up his company, which he says will not address the criticisms Facebook faces.

Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify on Wednesday about its crypto currency Libra before the US House of Representatives.

jcg/se (AP, AFP)

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