With another layer of scrutiny brought to an industry that is within the federal spotlight, a collection of state attorneys general is getting ready to begin a joint antitrust investigation into big tech.
It is forecasted that the effort will be formally started as soon as September and explore whether a few platforms are tapping into their marketplace abilities to hinder competition, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources.
The multistate group’s composition is a work in progress. But the report noted that a bipartisan probe could provide the investigation with broader leverage and aid in insulating GOP officials from questions about whether political concerns are motivating their actions (like how digital platforms handle conservative speech).
A spokesperson for North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said per the report that he is “participating in bipartisan conversations about this issue.” And Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said in a statement per that outlet that he is still “concerned with the aggregation of data in the hands of a few.” He added he is “always watchful of any monopoly.”
In addition, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had put out a statement after a meeting last month that he, along with other attorneys general, discussed “the real concerns consumers across the country have with big tech companies stifling competition on the internet.”
The news comes after reports surfaced in July that the Justice Department (DOJ) will open a new, separate investigation into the potential antitrust activities of tech companies. (That was said to compound troubles for companies like Apple, Google and Facebook.)
The separate probe will look into whether these big-name companies are tapping into their influence and power to stifle competition. The main avenues to be examined are said to be shopping services, social media practices and internet search.