Today, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is expected to announce that he and 39 other attorneys -general will launch a probe of technology companies to determine if they are in violation of US antitrust laws. The probe will specifically look into whether or not tech companies are engaging in anti-competitive practices. It is as yet unknown which companies will be the focus of the probe, but it is being reported that Google will be the firm that will be placed under the greatest level of scrutiny.
There are two main reasons that the attorneys-general are launching this probe. Major social media companies have been criticized heavily for breaches of privacy. This lack of privacy is an issue that has been taken up by many politicians from both sides of the political spectrum including President Trump and Senator Elizabeth Warren who is running for the presidential nomination in the Democratic Party.
There is also a major issue with competitiveness that the probe is expected to address. According to a report by indiatimes.com, Google has been accused by some of halting competition from other search engines. Critics of Google have stated that the company uses its search engine dominance to direct those who conduct searches to its affiliate companies to the detriment of those who compete against Google.
Attorneys-general on Friday announced a separate probe into the activities of Facebook. This probe will also focus on breeches of antitrust laws.
Google, Facebook and other tech companies are facing scrutiny from the Justice Department in addition to these newly announced probes by various attorneys-general. The Justice Department delivered a civil investigative demand for records to Google on August 30. Tech companies are also facing investigations in some European nations.
Google has stated that the company will comply with all requests for information from the federal, state and international authorities. The company has reiterated that it has not violated any antitrust laws.