Politicians from both the Republican and Democrat parties face increasing pressure to apply tougher regulation on technology giants and break the companies up. European officials have already been aggressively pursuing antitrust cases against American tech firms, including Google, while until now, the US has been mostly hands-off. The United States Justice Department’s (DOJ) is now preparing to investigate Google and other companies, marking the Trump administration’s first concrete step to scrutinize the potentially anti-competitive conduct of a large technology firm.
Lax enforcement in America has allowed tech platforms to dominate their markets. Earlier this year, the Trump administration set up a task force within the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to examine the conduct of tech companies and their past mergers. President Donald Trump and many Republicans have complained that Facebook, Google, and Twitter suppress conservative views. YouTube and Facebook purged and demonetized thousands more mainly conservative accounts this past week, including the accounts of history professors.
Following the recent wave of headlines reporting antitrust investigations against the companies this week, Facebook and Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. lost USD $137 billion in market value. Facebook lost USD $41 billion this week as said the FTC scrutinized whether the companies’ practices harm competition in the digital market under an agreement with the US Justice Department.
A report from the DOJ announced it is preparing an antitrust investigation into Google, leading to the company’s loss of USD $52 billion. Stocks for Netflix and Amazon also sold off sharply. Netflix lost USD $2.5 billion from its market value and Amazon lost USD $41 billion.
The DOJ and the FTC have agreed to split up antitrust oversight of technology giants, with the antitrust division taking over scrutiny Alphabet Inc.’s Google and the FTC getting oversight of Amazon. The DOJ has been given jurisdiction over a potential probe of Apple.