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More US State Attorneys General Join Facebook Antitrust Probe

Craig Adeyanju

A total of 47 state attorneys general in the United States have now joined the antitrust probe involving accusations that social media giant Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) risked consumer data and inflated advertising prices, Reuters reports.

What Happened

The Facebook probe is part of a broader antitrust investigation into tech firms that two coalitions of state attorneys launched in September. A separate probe involving Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NYSE: GOOGL) is examining if Google stifled innovation or hurt consumer choice and privacy.

The coalition investigating Facebook is led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, while Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is leading Google case.

Letitia said on Tuesday that the Facebook investigation, which initially included attorneys general from Iowa, Ohio, Florida, Colorado, Tennessee, Nebraska, North Carolina and the District of Columbia, now have the support of 39 additional state attorneys general.

Why It Matters

Facebook and other tech companies are also facing probes from the U.S. Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission. According to The Wall Street Journal, the FTC is examining Facebook and Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), whereas the Justice Department is investigating Google and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL).

In the spirit of discouraging anti-competitive practices among technology companies, a bipartisan group of lawmakers is sponsoring a new bill that would require Facebook and other tech companies to make user data accessible to smaller competitors.

The bill called the Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching (ACCESS) Act seeks to promote technological innovation across the tech sector.

What's Next

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is expected to appear before the U.S. Congress today to discuss his company’s plans to create a digital currency called Libra. The project has drawn criticisms from lawmakers across the U.S. and Europe.

Facebook's stock lost 3.91% and closed at $184.43 per share on Tuesday.

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