Regulation

DOJ Big Tech Probe Could Expand Beyond Antitrust

Department of Justice

To potentially challenge companies such as Facebook and Google on multiple fronts, the Department of Justice (DOJ) could go beyond looking into potential antitrust violations, per comments made by Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen. The DOJ has been involved in an in-depth antitrust review, and is at work with state attorneys general to see if firms such as Facebook have come to have too much market power, The New York Times reported.

At an American Bar Association antitrust forum, Rosen said, “We do not view antitrust law as a panacea for every problem in the digital world. We will not ignore any harms caused by online platforms that partially or completely fall outside the antitrust laws.”

Rosen noted that officials could harness legal tools that tap into areas that include consumer protection, public safety and privacy as part of a wider probe into the role of online platforms in consumers’ lives.

The DOJ’s efforts are said to echo the desire of the White House to curb the power of tech firms. Gene Kimmelman, a senior advisor to internet and communications think tank Public Knowledge, said per the report, “There is a growing consensus from the right to the left that antitrust is an important tool, but not a silver bullet, and that broader policy tools will be needed to rein in tech platforms abuses.”

In separate news, reports have recently surfaced that the DOJ has bolstered the staff for its probe into potential antitrust violations against Big Tech. The addition includes Ryan Shores, a former partner of international law firm Shearman & Sterling, who will help with the probe of Facebook, Google and other notable tech firms.

He will be joining the office of the deputy attorney general, which leads the antitrust division. Shores is a former Supreme Court clerk who worked under Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist on antitrust matters.

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