Attorneys general assemble to investigate Facebook

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Shutterstock
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Attorneys general assemble to investigate Facebook

46 attorneys general will probe Facebook regarding potential antitrust violations.
October 23, 2019

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is no stranger to scrutiny, but recent probes by the Federal Trade Commission and congressional hearings portend much more to come from government officials and regulatory bodies. Now, an antitrust investigation into Facebook announced by New York Attorney General Letitia James in September has amassed a Super Friends-like team of 46 other attorneys general to probe Facebook for potential antitrust violations. When James’ Facebook investigation was first announced, only eight other attorneys general were involved. 

It’s neither the first tech probe involving nearly every state’s attorney general (see: a similar investigation into Google), nor is it James’ first time targeting tech companies. The Facebook investigation will focus on whether the company put consumer data at risk, whether it has reduced the quality of customers’ choices – hitting on the company’s acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp – and increased the price of advertising. On Monday, James met with a group of attorneys general and other federal officials in Manhattan about building an antitrust case against Facebook.

The probe comes amid questions about whether Big Tech giants like Facebook and Google should be broken up. Recently, that particular question has reached larger stages, like the Democratic presidential primary debates, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren coming out strongly in favor of breaking up the firms.

For the rest of today's tech news, head over to First Read Tech.

Annie McDonough
Annie McDonough
is a tech and policy reporter at City & State.
20201023