Briefing

Attorneys general from 50 states announce sweeping antitrust investigation against Google

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The U.S.-wide probe will examine whether the company’s dominance in the search and internet businesses has limited competition from others and eroded the quality and value of services for consumers. (The Logic)

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Talking point: This investigation is far broader than expected—last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that 36 states were poised to launch the probe, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican. The investigation piles on to others the company is facing, including by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). It comes more than six years after Google avoided fines from the FTC, but agreed to make changes to its search algorithms to prevent anti-competitive behaviour, following a two-year antitrust probe. Public opinion about Big Tech has changed since 2013, however, with growing demand to see Google and other tech giants broken up, including from Elizabeth Warren, a U.S. presidential candidate and Democratic senator. Many of the state attorneys general bringing forward the latest investigation are emphasizing the bipartisan nature of this particular probe, something they say strengthens the investigation by barring the company from discrediting it as being politically motivated.