The Department of Justice is preparing a broad antitrust review of Big Tech companies — separate from those recently announced by the Federal Trade Commission, reports The Wall Street Journal. The probe will look at giant social media, internet search and retail platforms (i.e., Facebook, Google and Amazon) to see whether they are using their size to stifle competition. The investigation will also focus on how Big Tech has leveraged the power of its huge user base, per the Journal.
Amazon “has destroyed the retail industry across the United States,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said, adding “there is no question they’ve limited competition.”
Antitrust probe of Big Tech:
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Tuesday that its Antitrust Division will be launching an investigation into whether major online platforms are illegally harming their competitors and stifling innovation.
The department will be looking at “market-leading” firms—presumably Amazon, Facebook, Google, among others—and said the investigation will address “widespread concerns” regarding competition in the areas of online search, social media, and online retail.
The goal of the review, according to the DOJ’s statement, is to “assess the competitive conditions in the online marketplace in an objective and fair-minded manner and to ensure Americans have access to free markets in which companies compete on the merits to provide services that users want.”
The news sent share prices tumbling for Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. As of 5:30 a.m. today, they’d lost around $33 billion in value. Amazon shed $9.8 billion, Facebook dropped $8.4 billion, and Apple saw a $6.8 billion decline in value.
Several lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been asking for an investigation like this for years.