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EU: No precedent for Facebook antitrust investigation, says FL AG

 |  September 10, 2019

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said the antitrust probes into Facebook don’t have any common case studies to draw from in deciding how to move forward, according to a report by CNBC.

Florida recently announced it is participating in the probe, which also involves six other states as well as the District of Columbia, noted New York State Attorney General Letitia James.

“It’s an entirely different way of dealing with a monopoly,” Moody said. “We will continue to share information [with the other states and D.C.] as we work through this investigation. Depending upon what we ultimately find, that may indicate how we further collaborate.”

A separate investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is already underway. Facebook and the FTC reached a US$5 billion settlement in July over issues concerning privacy.

Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has spoken against breaking up the company, saying it would harm efforts to stop the spreading of false information and content that violates the company’s policies.

Attorneys general have also started to investigate Google over antitrust concerns, with more than 30 participating in that effort. The bipartisan effort is being spearheaded by Texas. If Google is found to have broken antitrust laws, its business model could be severely harmed. The search engine could be compelled to change the way it categorizes results and pay billions of dollars in fines, as it already has in Europe. Regulators could even force the company to let go of profitable businesses like YouTube.

“I continue to be concerned with the aggregation of data in the hands of a few and am always watchful of any monopoly,” said Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood. “As attorneys general, we need to evaluate and address specific conduct, utilizing our existing antitrust and consumer protection laws.”

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