Iowa Attorney General Joins Antitrust Investigation into Facebook

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Bloomberg

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A bipartisan coalition led by NY state lawyer common Letitia James mentioned on Friday that it'll launch an investigation into the social media large to find out whether or not it has stifled competitors and put customers in danger.

Facebook said in July that the FTC had opened an antitrust probe of its practices, and the company is also among the tech giants targeted in a House Judiciary Committee antitrust probe launched in June.

The other states probing Facebook are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee, plus the District of Columbia, according to the statement.

The investigation into Facebook is just one of potentially multiple antitrust investigations into the nation's largest tech companies.

At that meeting, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry criticized Google for its dominance in online advertising, saying that the company has the power to make it inefficient and inconvenient for advertisers to use any other platform. Himes, a former head of the antitrust bureau in the NY attorney general's office, worked on the states' antitrust case against Microsoft about 20 years ago. "This underscores the competition we face, not only in the USA but around the globe".

In a blog post on Friday, Google's senior vice president Kent Walker claimed the company actually creates more choices for consumers, often times at no cost.

"Even the largest social network in the world must obey the law and respect consumers".

Just hours earlier on Friday, New York AG Letitia James revealed that she is leading a multistate, bipartisan investigation into whether Facebook engaged in anticompetitive behavior and put its users at risk.

"We understand that if we stop innovating, people can easily leave our platform".

The bipartisan group will determine whether Facebook used its market dominance to unfairly stifle competition. Meanwhile, the Department of Justice is conducting an antitrust review of the nation's biggest tech companies.

Facebook said it plans to "work constructively" with the state attorneys general and welcomes a conversation with policymakers about competition.

"We look forward to working with the attorneys general to answer questions about our business and the dynamic technology sector", Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda said in an email. "I don't' think big is necessarily bad", he said.

Traditional antitrust law focuses on dominant businesses that harm consumers, typically defined as price-gouging and similar behaviors.

Lawmakers have also argued that Amazon's low prices have hurt brick-and-mortar retailers, many of whom have closed because they could not compete.

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