What you need to know
- The Justice Department has started an antitrust review of major tech companies.
- Tech companies that are being scrutinized include Google, Facebook, and Amazon.
- At this point, there's no indication Microsoft that will be targeted.
- The Justice Department will review whether the companies have tried to thwart competition or harm consumers.
The Department of Justice has announced that is starting an antitrust review of how leading tech companies amassed market power and whether they have indulged in anti-competitive practices. While the Justice Department has not named specific companies, New York Times mentions Google, Facebook, and Amazon are likely to be among the companies that are being scrutinized by the agency. That said, at this point, there's no indication that Microsoft will be targeted.
Makan Delrahim, head of the Justice Department's antitrust division, said in a statement:
Without the discipline of meaningful market-based competition, digital platforms may act in ways that are not responsive to consumer demands, the department's antitrust review will explore these important issues.
The federal government has recently been increasing pressure on tech companies such as Facebook and Google. A report published by the Wall Street Journal last month had claimed that the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission had agreed on dividing the antitrust investigation against leading tech companies. The DOJ would investigate Apple and Google, while the FTC would focus on Facebook and Amazon. However, the review announced by the Justice Department on Tuesday is said to be separate from those investigations.
Facebook, according to reports, will have to pay a $5 billion fine to the FTC for its mishandling of users' personal information. An official announcement by the FTC regarding the settlement is expected this week. Lawmakers are also highly critical of the company's Libra cryptocurrency and want its development to be halted. Google, on the other hand, is expected to pay millions to the Federal Trade Commission for YouTube violations of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).