States to launch Google, Facebook antitrust probes

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL:

State attorneys general are formally launching separate antitrust probes into Facebook Inc. FB 2.01% and Alphabet Inc. GOOG 2.54% ’s Google unit starting next week, according to people familiar with the matter, putting added pressure on tech giants already under federal scrutiny.

The Google probe is expected to be announced at a news conference outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, with a bipartisan group of about three dozen state attorneys general joining the effort, the people said.

The investigation will be led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, the people said. The attorneys general will examine the impact of Google on digital advertising markets, this person said, as well as potential harms to consumers from their information and ad choices being concentrated in one company.

Separately, an overlapping bipartisan group of attorneys general led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, is organizing a probe into social media company Facebook, according to these people.

“We continue to engage in bipartisan conversations about the unchecked power of large tech companies,” Ms. James said in a statement to the The Wall Street Journal when asked for comment on the probe. “The attorneys general involved have concerns over the control of personal data by large tech companies and will hold them accountable for anticompetitive practices that endanger privacy and consumer data.”

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