Google faces probe by 50 state attorneys general for antitrust violations


"Google plays a critical role in our online economy as the biggest and most powerful advertising and search engine company in the country".

"This investigation is not a lawsuit", he added.

Some state leaders said they are working closely with their federal counterparts as these investigations unfold.

Past investigations of the tech titan in the United States and Europe did not "fully address the source of Google's sustained market power and the ability to engage in serial and repeated business practices with the intention to protect and maintain that power", according to Paxton.

Other attorneys' general are also concerned over how Google "processes and ranks search results to the extent to which it may not fully protect users' personal information".

"It remains to be seen if the (attorneys general) have any merit to their complaints or if they will be conducting a fishing expedition hoping to find some damning evidence", Goldman said.

The news conference featured a dozen Republican attorneys general plus the Democratic attorney general of Washington, D.C.

Washington state is participating, the attorney general's office confirmed Monday.

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The bipartisan probe against Google is led by the Texas AG and includes state AGs from 47 other states, as well as from the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

California and Alabama are worlds apart politically, but so are some of the states probing Google, Tobias pointed out.

The US Department of Justice in June said it was preparing to open a case against Google for potential anti-trust violations, thus, putting scrutiny on the tech giant amid a growing chorus of criticism about the power of Big Tech. But many of Silicon Valley's critics believe federal law enforcers have been reluctant to go after the tech giants. 'The DOJ [US Department of Justice] has asked us to provide information about these past investigations, and we expect state attorneys general will ask similar questions.

It is followed by Facebook that has more than 22 per cent of the advertising market share. The states have a track record of taking on major companies such as cigarette makers and banks over harms to consumers and wresting fines that can amount to billions of dollars.

Meanwhile, Florida's Attorney General, Ashley Moody is more anxious about the lack of competition in the ad space. "They own most of the technical stack between advertisers and publishers".

The attorney general's comments come after all 50 US states and territories, led by Texas, announced an investigation into Google's "potential monopolistic behavior".

The vast majority of revenue for Google and its parent company, Alphabet, comes from online ads.

In response legislators are seeking to "level the playing field" and help reintroduce competition to a sector in which Google now enjoys a near-monopoly, fueling accusations that it is drawing consumers to its products ahead of rivals.