Facebook faces antitrust probe from state attorneys general


FILE PHOTO: A man poses with a magnifier in front of a Facebook logo on display in this illustration taken in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, December 16, 2015. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

(Reuters) – A bipartisan coalition led by New York state attorney general (AG) is launching an antitrust investigation into Facebook Inc (FB.O) to probe whether it has stifled competition and put users at risk, New York AG Letitia James said on Friday.

“I’m launching an investigation into Facebook to determine whether their actions endangered consumer data, reduced the quality of consumers’ choices, or increased the price of advertising,” James tweeted.

Attorneys general of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia will join New York in the probe, a statement said. (on.ny.gov/2lG1unu)

Facebook shares were down nearly 1% in premarket trading.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reuters and other media outlets reported on Tuesday that more than 30 U.S. state attorneys general were readying an investigation into Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google for potential antitrust violations.

The tech giants, among the richest and most powerful companies in the world, are facing increasing antitrust scrutiny from Congress, federal agencies and now state attorneys general.

The U.S. Justice Department said in July it was opening a broad investigation of major digital technology firms, focusing on whether they engage in anticompetitive practices. The investigation is believed to target Google, Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and Facebook, and potentially Apple Inc (AAPL.O).

Separately, the Federal Trade Commission, which also enforces antitrust laws, is also probing Amazon and Facebook to determine if they abused their massive market power in retail and social media, respectively.

Reporting by Munsif Vengattil and Neha Malara in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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