Attorneys general from 50 U.S. states and territories, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, have announced a probe against Google, seeking to explore whether the search giant violated antitrust laws. The announcement comes just days after Attorneys general from seven states and the District of Columbia launched a joint antitrust investigation against Facebook.
In a press conference held in front of the Supreme Court on Monday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said that Google “dominates all aspects of advertising on the Internet and searching on the Internet.” The initial focus of the joint probe, according to Paxton, will be on the company’s online advertising business.
Some of the other attorneys general also raised concerns over the way Google “processes and ranks search results to the extent to which it may not fully protect users’ personal information. As noted by The Washington Post, this could be worrying for Google as the investigation may later expand beyond just ads.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said:
When there is no longer a free market or competition, this increases prices, even when something is marketed as free, and harms consumers. Is something really free if we are increasingly giving over our privacy information? Is something really free if online ad prices go up based on one company’s control?
Google is already facing an antitrust investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. In a blog post published by Google last week, the company confirmed that the Department of Justice has asked it to provide information about its business practices.