The Masters of the Universe are in for a higher level of scrutiny than they are used to as the DOJ and the FTC prepare to investigate major Silicon Valley tech giants. The FTC has announced oversight of possible investigations of Facebook and Amazon.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the DOJ and the FTC have launched a number of investigations into Silicon Valley tech giants. The Justice Department has authority over potential antitrust investigations into Google and Apple, while the FTC now has oversight over Facebook and Amazon. Google and Facebook are reportedly the closest to being actively investigated.
On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee announced a separate investigation into digital markets which will include multiple hearings with information requests from major businesses. The investigation will attempt to determine whether or not antitrust laws and enforcement efforts have managed to keep pace with the rapid changes in the world of technology in recent years.
This sudden shift in attitude from lawmakers and government officials has had an effect on the stock market with Facebook shares dropping by 7.5 percent on Monday and Google’s parent company Alphabet down by 6.1 percent. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, commented on the recent investigations stating: “The open internet has delivered enormous benefits to Americans, but there is growing evidence that a handful of gatekeepers have come to capture control over key arteries of online commerce, content and communications.”
FTC Chairman Joe Simons has expressed interest in the past in investigation how Silicon Valley companies have changed the competitive landscape. Simons said in a Georgetown University speech last September: “It makes sense for the antitrust authorities to look in places where there might be significant market power, to ensure that such firms compete on the merits—and that might include some of the significant high-tech platforms.” A week later he told a Senate antitrust subcommittee: “This is something that is a priority for us.”
Breitbart News will continue to report on the antitrust investigations of major tech firms.