State AGs gear up to target big tech in antitrust probe

Big tech companies already under increased scrutiny recently could be facing yet another investigation.

A group of state attorneys general is working on a joint antitrust investigation into technology firms, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the situation.

The AGs, who may be coming from 20 or even more states, will likely issue civil investigative demands to tech companies and others, according to the report.

“The attorneys general involved have concerns over the control of personal data by large tech companies and will hold them accountable for anticompetitive practices that endanger privacy and consumer data,” a spokesperson for New York Attorney General Letitia James told the Journal.

Authorities are likely to focus on Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple, according to the report. A Google spokesperson pointed to testimony Adam Cohen, the company's director of economic policy, gave during a Congressional hearing last month.

"We have created new competition in many sectors, and new competitive pressures often lead to concerns from rivals," he said "We have consistently shown how our business is designed and operated to benefit our customers."

Representatives from the other companies didn’t immediately respond to FOX Business’ requests to comment.

Reports of the probe came as the Department of Justice is working on its own review of “market-leading online platforms” that officials announced last month. The DOJ’s Antitrust Division didn’t name any particular companies, but said it will be looking at “search, social media and some retail services online.”

The Federal Trade Commission has also been investigating Facebook over antitrust concerns, reportedly related to its acquisition practices and other competitive issues in the industry.

A list of settlements, violations and breaches scrolls over Facebook's logo on a screen as David Marcus, CEO of Facebook's Calibra digital wallet service, foreground, appears before a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Facebook's proposed

Representatives from the four companies defended their practices during an antitrust hearing on Capitol Hill last month. Cohen of Google said during testimony that the company has helped reduce prices and expand choice for consumers and merchants, and Matt Perault of Facebook said there is “intense competition” for services they provide.