Nine state attorneys general launched an antitrust investigation of social media giant Facebook on Friday, and three dozen state attorneys general will launch another inquiry into global technology firm Alphabet’s biggest subsidiary, Google, on Monday.
The bipartisan effort announced Friday is led by Democratic New York Attorney General Letitia James, joined by the top legal officers of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia.
“I am proud to be leading a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general in investigating whether Facebook has stifled competition and put users at risk,” James said in a news release. “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.”
Facebook paid a $5 billion penalty in a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in July.
“In the face of consumers’ intent to limit information-sharing to a select few, Facebook ignored them and shared it broadly. Facebook did that despite its privacy promises, despite consumers’ efforts to protect their privacy,” the FTC said at the time. “Why? To further Facebook’s financial interests.”
The federal government is also looking into whether the social media giant’s acquisition of Instagram violated antitrust laws and continues to scrutinize Facebook’s privacy practices.
James said Friday that “the largest social media platform in the world must follow the law.”
A few dozen state attorneys generals are also preparing to investigate Google over allegations of antitrust violations, according to the Wall Street Journal. Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will reportedly lead the coalition’s inquiry into Google’s information and advertising practices. The investigation will be announced Monday outside the Supreme Court.
The Justice Department already launched its own antitrust inquiry into Google.
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