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Facebook joins Google in states' antitrust crosshairs

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Facebook Inc is joining Google in the cross-hairs of state attorneys general investigating possible antitrust violations, adding to the scrutiny of Silicon Valley giants that have been widely criticised by politicians from both parties over their market dominance.

[NEW YORK] Facebook Inc is joining Google in the cross-hairs of state attorneys general investigating possible antitrust violations, adding to the scrutiny of Silicon Valley giants that have been widely criticised by politicians from both parties over their market dominance.

New York Attorney General Letitia James is leading a bipartisan coalition of states probing whether Facebook "stifled competition and put users at risk" by increasing the price of advertising, reducing consumer-choice quality and mishandling personal information, according to a statement Friday.

"We will use every investigative tool at our disposal," Ms James said. "Even the largest social media platform in the world must follow the law and respect consumers."

Scrutiny of so-called Big Tech will surge next week: in addition to an announcement of a separate multi-state investigation into Alphabet Inc's Google, which Bloomberg reported Tuesday, the House subcommittee focused on antitrust law will hold a hearing on Sept 12 on the impact of data and privacy on competition.

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Federal antitrust enforcers have also opened investigations. The Justice Department is probing Google's role in the online advertising market and its search operations and the US Federal Trade Commission is scrutinising acquisitions by Facebook as part of an early stage antitrust investigation of the social media platform, Bloomberg has reported.

"If we stop innovating, people can easily leave our platform. This underscores the competition we face," Will Castleberry, Facebook's vice president for state and local policy, said in a statement. "We will work constructively with state attorneys general and we welcome a conversation with policymakers about the competitive environment in which we operate."

BLOOMBERG