NEW YORK (CBS News) – Are Google and Facebook too big? A number of states hope to answer that question and have opened two separate investigations. They suspect the tech giants are stifling competition and harming consumers.
Google’s advertising practices and dominance in on-line searches are under investigation by attorneys general in 48 states as well as Washington DC and Puerto Rico.
The bipartisan group made the announcement in front of the Supreme Court.
“When there is no longer a free market or competition, this increases prices even when something is marketed as free,” said Florida Attorney General, Ashley Moody.
There’s concern the tech giant is behaving like a monopoly–stomping out or buying out rival and that it holds an oversized sway in the digital advertising market.
“The overwhelming number of query responses relate to google businesses or advertisers who pay for their slot,” said Washington D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine.
The attorneys general say small businesses with smaller advertising budgets lose out. And so do small states, whose residents rely on products and services they find online.
Google officials say they expect the states will ask the company about similar investigations. Here in the U.S and internationally. In March, Europe fined Google $1.7 billion for forcing advertisers to only advertise with them.”
Facebook is also facing new scrutiny. On Friday, new york led eight states and the District of Columbia to open up a similar antitrust investigation into the social media company.
Both tech companies are already being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department.
Both say they will work with state officials on their concerns.