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DOJ launches antitrust review into dominance of 'market-leading online platforms'

Elizabeth Zwirz

The Department of Justice is taking aim at “market-leading online platforms,” announcing Tuesday that they’ll be taking a look into how their dominance was attained and whether their behavior has “reduced competition, stifled innovation, or otherwise harmed customers.”

The review, which has been undertaken by the DOJ’s Antitrust Division, did not single out particular firms but will focus on issues that were “expressed about search, social media, and some retail services online,” according to a news release from the agency.

“Without the discipline of meaningful market-based competition, digital platforms may act in ways that are not responsive to consumer demands,” Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Antitrust Division said in the news release. “The Department’s antitrust review will explore these important issues.”

Word of the DOJ's review comes on the heels of a report from The Wall Street Journal, which described it as being a new challenge to leading tech companies such as Facebook, Google and Apple from Capitol Hill.

The DOJ said its purpose in this query was to examine "the competitive conditions in the online marketplace," while vowing to "seek redress" if it's determined that any laws were broken.

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Executives from Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon faced questions in the nation's capital last week, where lawmakers focused on issues of potentially anticompetitive behavior by technology giants.

A panel of the House Judiciary Committee focused on whether it's time for Congress to rein in these companies. Central to that case is whether their business practices run afoul of century-old laws originally designed to combat railroad and oil monopolies.

Fox News' Jake Gibson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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