WASHINGTON — The Federal Trade Commission is launching a task force to monitor technology markets, and its scrutiny will include proposed mergers and ones that have already taken place.
The task force will take enforcement action “when warranted,” the FTC said.
“The role of technology in the economy and in our lives grows more important every day,” Joe Simons, FTC chairman, said in a statement. “As I’ve noted in the past, it makes sense for us to closely examine technology markets to ensure consumers benefit from free and fair competition.”
The FTC already has been holding a series of hearings that include questions of whether current antitrust laws are adequate to respond to the growth of platforms.
President Donald Trump has railed against big tech, although he has claimed the Silicon Valley companies have a bias against the right. “Facebook, Twitter and Google are so biased toward the Dems it is ridiculous!” he wrote in December.
The task force will include 17 staff attorneys and will be led by Patricia Galvan, who is the deputy assistant director the the Mergers III Division, and Krisha Cerilli, who is counsel to the director of the division, Bruce Hoffman.
In a statement, Hoffman said that technology markets “raise distinct challenges for antitrust enforcement.”
“By centralizing our expertise and attention, the new task force will be able to focus on these markets exclusively – ensuring they are operating pursuant to the antitrust laws, and taking action where they are not,” he said.