It appears that there is only one thing that can bridge political divides: a common hatred of Mark Zuckerberg.
Two large bipartisan squads of state attorneys general are out for big tech blood. Mind you, this is in addition to ongoing federal investigations. And if history is any indication, the states mobilizing doesn’t bode well for corporations.
One witch hunt will be led by New York AG Letitia James. The investigation will open the kimono on antitrust allegations levied against Facebook.
The AGs believe that “Facebook’s actions may have endangered consumer data, reduced the quality of consumers’ choices, or increased the price of advertising.” And don’t for a second think that the states don’t plan on revisiting the FTC’s record $5B fine, which focused on privacy practices and Zuck’s acquisitions with the intention of staving off competition.
In good company
Not be outdone, yet another set of state attorneys general led by Texas AG Ken Paxton plans to kick the tires on Google. The investigation, to be formally announced outside of the US Supreme Court today (it’s called PR 101, look it up) will focus on “whether large tech companies have engaged in anticompetitive behavior that stifled competition, restricted access and harmed consumers.”
Why is this a BFD?
States entering the battle royal means more boots on the ground (read: more interns to do monotonous tasks) and more resources to presumably go all SVU on big tech firms. It’s probably worth noting that more cooks in the kitchen could lead to a clusterf*ck of epic proportions…
But what if it doesn’t?
A textbook case of states lighting a fire under Uncle Sam’s ass is the Microsoft antitrust case. Ever heard of it? Twenty or so AGs helped the federal government tag team MSFT, leading to a slew of concessions that have helped shape the tech landscape today.
At the very least, historically state governments have had better luck at extracting large fines in antitrust cases than their federal counterparts.
Bottom line: “Finally, Ask Jeeves can mount its comeback.” – Jason