House Plans Sweeping Probe of Tech Giants

Investigation to focus on 'concentration of market power'
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 3, 2019 6:18 PM CDT

(Newser) – Tech giants—including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google—will face a "top-to-bottom" antitrust investigation by the House Judiciary Committee. Rep. David Cicilline, leader of the investigation, said Monday it is aimed at the "tremendous concentration of market power" held by the companies more than it is at individual companies. The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission already are planning to investigate Google, CNN reports; the agencies also have negotiated oversight of Amazon, Apple, and Facebook. Cicilline said his is the first congressional antitrust investigation in decades, launched because antitrust agencies haven't done enough: "I don't have a lot of confidence that these agencies will get the job done."

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Investigating the giants of Silicon Valley has bipartisan support: Democrats run the House, and Democratic presidential candidates, as well as the Trump administration, have backed these efforts. Until now, the federal government has been supportive of the companies, even as European regulators fined Google $9 billion in the past three years. Privacy violations and the manipulation of social networks during the 2016 campaign changed that, per the Washington Post. "For a while, tech could do no wrong. They were the font of all innovation, and good things, and progress and democracy," said the head of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a think tank. "And now the bloom is off the rose." (Read more antitrust stories.)

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