×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Facebook Target of Antitrust Probe by State Attorneys General

Facebook faces another antitrust investigation, with the New York State Attorney General announcing Friday that a coalition of nine AGs has launched an investigation into the social-media giant for potential antitrust violations.

The investigation focuses on “Facebook’s dominance in the industry and the potential anticompetitive conduct stemming from that dominance,” according to the announcement from New York Attorney General Letitia James. Joining New York in the probe are the attorneys general of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and Washington, D.C.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Shares of Facebook fell 2.2% in early trading Friday.

The action by the state AGs comes after Facebook disclosed two months ago that the Federal Trade Commission in June 2019 told the social-media colossus that it was the target of an antitrust investigation by the agency. That came the same day the FTC announced a 20-year settlement with Facebook over privacy violations under which the company is paying a record $5 billion fine and will submit to new regulatory oversight.

In addition, in July, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a broad antitrust probe into large online platforms, including Facebook.

“Even the largest social-media platform in the world must follow the law and respect consumers,” New York AG Letitia James said in a statement. “We will use every investigative tool at our disposal to determine whether Facebook’s actions may have endangered consumer data, reduced the quality of consumers’ choices, or increased the price of advertising.”

Meanwhile, Google also is set to be the target of an antitrust investigation by a group of some three dozen state AGs over the internet company’s influence over digital advertising, the Wall Street Journal reported, following an earlier story on the planned probe by the Washington Post. The Google investigation will be led by the Texas Attorney General and is set to be announced Monday, per the Journal report.

The heightened antitrust scrutiny of tech giants will likely result in fines — potentially running in the billions of dollars — but government-imposed remedies like forcing Facebook or Google to break up their businesses remain unlikely, according to Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives. “We reiterate our opinion that this is more noise vs. the start of broader structural changes across the tech food chain,” Ives wrote in a research note Friday, predicting “business model tweaks” and potential DOJ/FTC fines in a worst-case scenario.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Elite Season 2

    San Sebastian: Spain’s SVOD Players Debate Competition, Brand, Talent

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — Executives from HBO, Netflix, Amazon and Movistar+ and “Elite” co-creator Darío Madrona took to the stage to field questions on the Global Impact of Spanish Series. Here, briefly, are five takeaways: 1.Spain First “La Casa de Papel” was watched by 34,355,956 Netflix accounts over its first seven days,  after a July 19 [...]

  • Tinder - Swipe Night

    Tinder's Apocalyptic 'Swipe Night' Interactive Dating Show Sets Release Date

    Tinder next month will bow its first original entertainment content — “Swipe Night,” an interactive adventure series in which viewers are forced to make dating choices on humanity’s last night on Earth. Variety previously reported details of the location-based social network/dating app service’s foray into original content, which recently wrapped production in Mexico City and [...]

  • Editorial Use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    YouTube Rolls Back Verification Changes, Says Verified Creators Can Keep Their Badge

    A day after announcing significant changes to its verification program, YouTube announced Friday afternoon that it won’t be de-verifying existing creators after all. “We heard loud and clear how much the badge means to you,” said YouTube product manager Jonathan McPhie in a blog post. “Channels that already have the verification badge will now keep it [...]

  • BLive: BitTorrent Live Streaming App to

    BitTorrent to Launch Public Beta of New Live Streaming App

    BitTorrent is getting ready to open the floodgates for its new live streaming app, dubbed BitTorrent Live: The company plans to launch a BitTorrent Live Android app on various app stores as part of a public beta test late Friday, according to a spokesperson. BitTorrent Live, which is also known as BLive, is being described [...]

  • Netflix - Apple TV

    Netflix Stock Drops After CEO Acknowledges 'Tough Competition' Coming From Disney, Apple

    Netflix shares fell as much as 7% Friday to a nine-month low, coming after CEO Reed Hastings commented that the November launches of Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus will introduce a “whole new world” of competition. Hastings, speaking at the Royal Television Society conference Friday in Cambridge, England, said, “While we’ve been competing with [...]

  • Facebook

    Facebook Suspends Tens of Thousands of Apps During Privacy Investigation

    Facebook has suspended tens of thousands of apps ever since it began investigating potential privacy abuses, the company said Friday. The apps in question had been built by around 400 developers, and a suspension doesn’t necessarily indicate actual privacy violations. Facebook began combing through millions of apps that made use of its platform after the [...]

  • tivo logo

    Tivo Plans to Launch Android TV Dongle, Tivo+ Curation App

    DVR maker Tivo is getting ready to release a new device that may not record television at all: The company plans to launch a $50 Roku-like TV dongle early next year, its new CEO Dave Shull revealed in a conversation with CNN this week. The new device will be powered by Google’s Android TV platform, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content