These Are the U.S. Antitrust Instances Going through Google, Fb and Others

Google is one of the few big tech companies that is increasingly under scrutiny by US regulators worried about anti-competitive behavior.


Photo:

Patrick Bolger / Bloomberg News

Updated December 16, 2020 3:30 p.m. ET

The list of US antitrust cases against large tech companies grows as a Texas-led group of states filed a lawsuit against Google on Wednesday. These are the top cases and investigations Big Tech faces:

Justice Department

The department sued Google on October 20, accusing the company of using anti-competitive tactics to maintain a monopoly on its flagship search engine business.

Federal Trade Commission

The FTC sued Facebook Inc. on Dec. 9, accusing the social media giant of buying and freezing small startups to stifle competition. The suit requires Facebook to handle its WhatsApp and Instagram acquisitions.

Attorneys General

Also on December 9, Facebook was sued by a coalition of 46 states, along with the District of Columbia and Guam, over antitrust concerns similar to those of the FTC. States claim that a lack of competition harmed consumers.

The Texas-led coalition of states that Google sued Wednesday alleges the company rigged the digital advertising markets in violation of antitrust laws.

Another group of attorneys general, led by Colorado, is expected to file separate antitrust proceedings against Google as early as this week.

congress

After a lengthy investigation, the House Democrats recently concluded that Amazon has monopoly powers over third-party vendors on its website and that Apple exercises monopoly powers through its App Store. These and other recommendations for Facebook and Google could lead to legislative proposals. Meanwhile, Republican senators are trying to restrict Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which largely protects digital platforms from liability for their users’ online activities as companies censor conservative positions.

Federal Communications Commission

The agency is considering a Trump administration motion to reinterpret the key elements of Section 230 for the same reasons cited by Senate Republicans. Tech companies are expected to challenge possible actions as violations of freedom of speech.

Government and technology leaders want to rewrite a law that governs the Internet. WSJ explains section 230 how it shaped the modern Internet and what lawmakers and technical executives want to change. Photo image: Carlos Waters / WSJ

Write to John D. McKinnon at john.mckinnon@wsj.com

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Published in the print edition of December 17, 2020 as “Antitrust Cases Pile Up for Big Tech”.

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