47 state attorneys general are investigating Facebook for antitrust violations

New York Attorney General Letitia James

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New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced Tuesday that 47 attorneys general from states and U.S. territories plan to take part in a New York-led antitrust probe into Facebook. Shares of Facebook fell as much as 2.2% on the news.

The multistate investigation was first announced in September with participation from seven other states, but it has since expanded considerably. The probe will zero in on Facebook’s dominance in the social media industry and whether it broke any state or federal laws as a result of any anticompetitive conduct related to that dominance. 

“After continued bipartisan conversations with attorneys general from around the country, today I am announcing that we have vastly expanded the list of states, districts, and territories investigating Facebook for potential antitrust violations,” James said in a statement. “Our investigation now has the support of 47 attorneys general from around the nation, who are all concerned that Facebook may have put consumer data at risk, reduced the quality of consumers’ choices, and increased the price of advertising. As we continue our investigation, we will use every investigative tool at our disposal to determine whether Facebook’s actions stifled competition and put users at risk.”

It comes as Facebook already faces a separate antitrust investigation launched by the Federal Trade Commission in July. The probe was announced on the heels of the FTC handing down a $5 billion fine against Facebook over its privacy policies.

Facebook and its rivals, including Google, Amazon and Apple, also face a separate probe from the U.S. Department of Justice. The probe, opened in July, seeks to examine the practices of online platforms that dominate internet search, social media and retail services, specifically, whether the companies have 

Attorneys general from Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and the territory of Guam are all joining the probe, in addition to other states that can’t confirm their participation in the investigation, according to the announcement.

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect 47 attorneys general from U.S. states and territories are involved in the Facebook antitrust probe.

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