States to Launch Facebook, Google Antitrust Probes (Report)

Facebook logos - smartphone - Getty-H 2017
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The probes, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and New York Attorney General Letitia James, respectively, could be expanded to other tech firms.

State attorneys general are set to formally launch antitrust probes into Facebook and Alphabet’s Google next week, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing people familiar with the situation. 

The news comes after the U.S. Justice Department recently opened a sweeping antitrust investigation of big technology companies and whether they have hurt competition, suppressed innovation or otherwise harmed consumers.

The new probes by the attorneys general of various states could possibly be expanded to other tech firms, the Journal reported.

A growing number of lawmakers have called for stricter regulation or even a break-up of the big tech companies, which have come under scrutiny following a series of scandals that compromised users' privacy. President Donald Trump has also repeatedly criticized the tech giants in recent months.

About three dozen state attorneys general are expected to unveil the Google investigation, to be led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, on Monday, the Journal reported, citing sources. It is expected to look at Google's impact on digital advertising and potential harmful effects for consumers.

A separate probe of Facebook will be led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, according to the report. The social media giant recently agreed to pay a $5 billion fine to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations that it used deceptive disclosures and account settings to lure users into sharing personal information.

The Journal said Facebook declined to comment, while Google said it was cooperating with inquiries.