NY attorney general announces Facebook antitrust probe

Facebook logo during Facebook Inc's F8 developers conference in San Jose

Facebook logo during Facebook Inc's F8 developers conference in San Jose

Meanwhile, an investigation led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, with an overlapping bipartisan group of attorneys general, is organizing a probe into Facebook, the Journal reported.

The multi-state coalition includes Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee, James said.

Dozens of USA states are set to launch antitrust and privacy investigations into Facebook and Google as scrutiny of the big tech firms increases in the US.

The New York attorney general's office said it expected more states to join the investigation.

Facebook said people had "multiple choices" when it came to using online services. We understand that if we stop innovating, people can easily leave our platform.

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The new action was announced by NY state Attorney General Letitia James on behalf of a coalition of representatives from several states. "We continue to work constructively with regulators, including attorneys general, in answering questions about our business and the dynamic technology sector".

Regulators around the country have signaled growing concerns about the breadth of Silicon Valley's power in recent months, questioning the industry's access to vast amounts of proprietary data - and deep pockets - that allow companies to gobble up rivals and maintain their dominance to the detriment of consumers.

The probe on Google is focused on the intersection of privacy and antitrust, a source told Reuters.

"Even the largest social media platform in the world must follow the law and respect consumers", said Ms James. The DOJ didn't name specific firms in its announcement, but it was the first clear public confirmation of a major USA antitrust review of the tech industry. The investigation is believed to target Google, Amazon.com Inc and Facebook, and potentially Apple Inc.

Amazon, the world's biggest online retailer, has been criticized for holding sway over third-party sellers on its website, who must pay for advertising to compete against first-party and private label sales by Amazon itself.

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