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Watchdog Groups Urge DOJ to Investigate YouTube for Antitrust Violations

 |  June 12, 2024

Several technology and competition watchdog groups are calling on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to launch an antitrust investigation into YouTube, the popular video-sharing platform owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet. This appeal arises amid escalating concerns about YouTube’s growing influence in the home entertainment sector.

As initially reported by Reuters, the American Economic Liberties Project and Demand Progress are spearheading this initiative, alongside nine other advocacy groups. In a letter dated June 11, 2024, addressed to Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter, these groups outlined their apprehensions regarding YouTube’s expansive market power and potential anti-competitive practices.

The watchdog organizations argue that YouTube’s dominance is not limited to online video streaming but also permeates the broader home entertainment markets. They claim that YouTube’s pre-installation on smartphones and TVs sold in the U.S. is a deliberate strategy to edge out competitors and lock in customers.

The letter emphasizes YouTube’s decade-long history of leveraging its market position to bundle services, thereby creating significant barriers for rivals. “YouTube has consistently used its dominance to force bundled services on consumers, making it increasingly difficult for competitors to gain a foothold,” the letter states, as reported by Reuters.

This call for heightened scrutiny coincides with Alphabet’s recent financial disclosures, showcasing YouTube’s robust performance. In April 2024, Alphabet announced that YouTube had generated over $8 billion in quarterly ad revenue, reflecting a 21% increase compared to the same period the previous year.

Additionally, data from audience analytics firm Nielsen highlights YouTube’s significant market presence, revealing that it has been the most-watched streaming service in the U.S. for over a year.

Source: Reuters