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New York State Attorney Facebook antitrust probe




The investigation is expected to focus on Facebook's impact on ad prices, data and consumer privacy and the company's past acquisitions, including Instagram and WhatsApp.

"I am proud to be leading a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general to investigate whether Facebook has stifled competition and put users at risk," James said in a statement. "We will use every survey tool available to determine if Facebook's actions may have endangered consumer data, reduced the quality of consumer choices or increased the cost of advertising."

The multistate coalition includes Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee, James said. Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The announcement comes days before dozens of Texas-led states are expected to launch a separate antitrust investigation against Google ( GOOG ) and its advertising practices, two sources said was familiar with the matter earlier, to CNN Business, in another probe that puts pressure on Silicon Valley's largest platforms.
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  1[ads1]9659007] Dozens of states prepare antitrust probe according to Google's advertising practice
This investigation is expected to be announced Sept. 9 near the U.S. Supreme Court, according to one source. The Washington Post first reported the expected announcement.

"We continue to work constructively with regulators, including attorneys general, to answer questions about our business and the dynamic technology sector," a Google spokesman told CNN Business in a statement on Tuesday.

Other companies could soon be drawn in by the states – either as targets for other investigations or to serve as witnesses effectively.

"With all the investigation going on, there will be more cases against several defendants about multiple theories [of harm]" said the other source.

The wave of state-led probes highlights a major concern among policy makers that Silicon Valley's largest players could hurt competition. The House Judiciary Committee has launched a "top-to-bottom" antitrust probe from Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. In the meantime, the Ministry of Justice is conducting an antitrust review of the country's largest technology companies.

A number of states recently met with Justice Department antitrust chief Makan Delrahim to discuss Big Tech following the Justice Department's announcement of the review. Last month, at a conference in Aspen, Delrahim acknowledged that his office is coordinating with the states.

  Google and FTC reach $ 170 million settlement over alleged YouTube violations of children & # 39; privacy

The states themselves have not been shy about investigating the technology companies. Herbert Slatery III, Tennessee's attorney general, said at a conference in Omaha, Nebraska, in June that "governmental structural changes may well be needed" to address some of the damages caused by the tech industry.

conference, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry criticized Google for its dominance in online advertising, saying that the company has the power to make it ineffective and impractical for advertisers to use any other platform.

"Google gets to choose winners and losers because the system is rigged in their favor," Landry said. "Continuing this path will kill publishing on the web, or Google will control who stays and who goes."

Tennessee, along with Nebraska and Louisiana, has been seen as leaders in antitrust efforts against the tech industry, at least at the state level. But Texas will be the leading state on Monday's announcement, one of the sources said.

The impending investigation by the states is not the only sign that Silicon Valley's antitrust headache is getting worse. On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee's antitrust panel announced its own technology-focused antitrust hearing and zeroed in on the company's acquisitions of major platforms such as Facebook and Google.

Senator Mike Lee, a Republican who heads the subcommittee, said in a statement that tech giants can often use these acquisitions to improve competition. But, he added, "they also run the risk of eliminating the very competition that may challenge the sitting firm's leading position in the future."



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