Under pressure: Facebook faces antitrust probes
SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook has barely shaken off a record $5 billion fine by U.S. regulators over its privacy practices but it already faces new investigations — not to mention ongoing ones — into potential antitrust violations and other issues.
Now, a group of state attorneys generals led by New York’s Letitia James is piling on with its own antitrust investigation into Facebook.
For a decade, Facebook had largely been trusted to regulate itself and keep its 2.4 billion users’ interests at heart. Then came Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, fake news and the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which a political data mining firm affiliated with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign improperly accessed the personal data of as many as 87 million users.
Regulators in Europe and the U.S. took notice. Facebook now faces the prospect of not only billions of dollars in additional fines, but also new restrictions.
Here are some of the ongoing investigations and potential legal threats involving Facebook.
U.S. justice department
The U.S. Department of Justice has opened a sweeping antitrust investigation of major technology companies, a list widely believed to include Facebook. The department is looking into whether their online platforms have hurt competition, suppressed innovation or otherwise harmed consumers.
U.S. Federal Trade Commission
Though the privacy matter is settled, Facebook has disclosed that the FTC is investigating the company separately for antitrust issues. Facebook said it was informed of the investigation in June.
Irish Data Protection Commission
Ireland’s data regulator launched an investigation of Facebook over the Cambridge Analytica data leak last year. At issue is whether the company complied with strict European data regulations that went into effect in May 2018. Under the new rules, companies could be hit with fines equal to 4% of annual global revenue for the most serious violations.
In June, the House Judiciary Committee announced “a top-to-bottom review of the market power held by giant tech platforms.” Targets include Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple.
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