WSJ News Exclusive | States to Launch Google, Facebook Antitrust Probes

" State attorneys general are formally launching separate antitrust probes into Facebook Inc. FB -1.82% and Alphabet Inc. GOOG -0.25% ’s Google unit starting next week, putting added pressure on tech giants already under federal scrutiny.

New York Attorney General Letitia James said Friday that her office was organizing a bipartisan, multi-state probe into social media company Facebook. Her announcement confirmed an earlier Wall Street Journal report.

“I am proud to be leading a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general in investigating whether Facebook has stifled competition and put users at risk,” Ms. 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.”

“The extreme concentration in the technology industry is bad for the consumer, and in our opinion it’s bad for America,” Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III said at a June hearing on antitrust concerns in the tech industry, flanked by two other state attorneys general. “The concentration has stifled innovation with market distortions [in] research and development, as entrepreneurs avoid competing with Google and Facebook and other tech giants. So we need to do something about that.”

For now, it appears unlikely the state and federal investigations will be formally coordinated. But the federal enforcers have been meeting with state attorneys general, and closer cooperation could develop as the probes move forward."

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