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Factbox: Big Tech faces growing number of federal, state probes

Kitco News

(Reuters) - Several U.S. state attorneys general are set to launch antitrust probes of large technology companies such as Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL.O) and Facebook (FB.O) amid concerns that the companies have too much power and are harming users and stifling competition.

The U.S. Justice Department has already opened a broad investigation of major digital technology firms into whether they engage in anticompetitive practices, the strongest sign the Trump administration is stepping up its scrutiny of Big Tech.

Following is a snapshot of the regulatory scrutiny that the technology bigwigs are under.

March 2018- U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) confirms that it has opened investigations into Facebook’s misuse of data with political analytics firm, Cambridge Analytics, misusing data of 87 million users.

July 2019 - FTC slaps a record $5 billion fine on Facebook for mishandling privacy of its users with now defunct British political analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica.

July 2019 - Facebook agrees to pay the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission $100 million for misleading investors about the misuse of its user’s data.

July 2019- Justice Department announces broad investigation into major digital technology firms including concerns about “search, social media, and some retail services online” hinting at the big tech companies.

August 2019 - FTC launches an investigation into Facebook’s acquisitions, accusing it of buying potential rivals.

September 2019- New York state attorney general Letitia James announced an antitrust probe into Facebook, its fourth federal investigation this year.

September, 2019 - Google discloses in a regulatory filing that it had received a civil investigative demand from the Justice Department on Aug 30.

September, 2019 - Texas attorney general Ken Paxton’s office announced an investigation of large tech firms but did not name the companies. It is expected to focus on Alphabet’s Google and would look at both privacy and antitrust practices.

Reporting by Neha Malara in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

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