Attorneys General Confirm Google Probe As DOJ Requests For Business Information
It was confirmed late Monday that 50 attorneys general from Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and 48 American states have joined hands with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for an investigation into Google's business practices.
Led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the probe is expected to look into the American tech giant's possible violation of antitrust laws, CNBC reported. Paxton said only Alabama and California will not be involved in the investigations.
While the said attorneys general will be simultaneously holding investigations along with the DOJ, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine noted that it is too early to say that the two groups will officially coordinate for a "coordinated expansion."
Racine explained that attorneys general from each state are "an independent bunch." He noted that these people will not be "swayed" by just about any piece of information that comes out of the probe unless facts are consistent with the results.
On Friday, a company blog confirmed that the DOJ has officially requested information from Google regarding its business practices. The blog also confirmed that attorneys general will join the questioning.
At the time of posting, Google said it has been working "constructively" with domestic and international regulators and it is looking to continue cooperating with requests for information.
If the separate probes find evidence that Google's business practices are violating antitrust regulations, the search engine giant will be forced to revamp its algorithms and business systems to allow for rivals to compete fairly.
The Verge reported that the investigation will put under the microscope Google's search and advertising units first. Later on, it is expected that other business arms will be infiltrated to find out if there are antitrust practices going on outside ads and consumer searches.
Monopoly leader, the Open Markets Institute, heaped praises on the efforts of the DOJ and attorneys general looking into U.S. Big Tech practices. The group said this is the biggest monopolization case yet after Microsoft was put under the radar over two decades ago.
Aside from Google, Facebook is also under the radar of multiple organizations and regulatory groups worldwide. New York Attorney General Letitia James announced the Facebook investigation on Friday.
Industry experts noted that should the probe's findings prove that Google and Facebook violated antitrust regulations, there is a high chance the two tech behemoths will be broken up.
Antitrust investigations and findings ensure that no one company has centralized power in a particular industry. In the case of Google, it is the search engine sector, while for Facebook, it is the social media segment.