For a long time we've debated whether or not the government should intervene into the possibility that Silicon Valley tech giants are behaving like monopolies.
Now, after President Trump's recent social media censorship summit at the White House, the DOJ has decided to step up and take action.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday announced it is opening a review into whether the United States’ biggest and most powerful technology companies have stifled competition or hurt consumers.
The federal agency’s antitrust division said in a statement that the sweeping inquiry will evaluate “whether and how market-leading online platforms have achieved market power and are engaging in practices that have reduced competition, stifled innovation, or otherwise harmed consumers.”
Further, the DOJ stated it will “consider the widespread concerns that consumers, businesses, and entrepreneurs have expressed about search, social media, and some retail services online.”
Amazon is one of the world’s largest online retailer, while Facebook has dominated the social media space over for a decade. For years, Google has operated the most popular search engine and dominated online advertising, a duopoly that Amazon is just now gaining a foothold against.
“Without the discipline of meaningful market-based competition, digital platforms may act in ways that are not responsive to consumer demands,” said Makan Delrahim, the Assistant Attorney General of the Antitrust Division. “The Department’s antitrust review will explore these important issues.”
It comes as a growing number of lawmakers have called for stricter regulation or even breaking up of the big tech companies, which have come under intense scrutiny following a series of scandals that compromised users’ privacy.
The DOJ’s announcement comes on the heels of a Washington Post report stating that the FTC will allege that Facebook misled users about its privacy practices as part of an expected settlement.
The federal business watchdog will reportedly find that Facebook deceived users about how it handled phone numbers it asked for as part of a security feature and provided insufficient information about how to turn off a facial recognition tool for photos.
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 11: (CHINA OUT, SOUTH KOREA OUT) Facebook co-founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on April 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. Zuckerberg, 33, was called to testify after it was reported that 87 million Facebook users had their personal information harvested by Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm linked to the Trump campaign. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)