big tech big problems
June 3, 2019

The Federal Trade Commission has spent the last year probing Facebook's privacy concerns. Now it's digging in to the social media giant again.

The FTC has obtained permission to run an antitrust investigation into Facebook while allowing the Justice Department to look into Google parent company Alphabet, The Wall Street Journal reports. The report comes just days after a Washington Post report also indicated there'd be a similar investigation into Amazon, and as lawmakers step up calls to "break up" big tech companies.

On Friday, the Journal reported that the DOJ was "gearing up" to probe potentially monopolistic practices at Alphabet. The FTC often handles monopoly investigations, but as people familiar with the matter told the Journal, an agreement between the two entities has allowed the FTC to handle Facebook while the DOJ looks into Alphabet. That same agreement also will put the FTC at the head of an antitrust probe into Amazon, three people told the Post. It's unclear when the Facebook probe would start, but the Alphabet investigation seems like it'll soon be on its way, per the Journal.

Potential monopolies in big tech have been a growing concern for bipartisan lawmakers, with Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) sending an April letter to the FTC urging it to "take action in response to concerns regarding potential privacy, data security, and antitrust violations involving online platforms." Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has called for a "big tech breakup" as part of her 2020 presidential platform.

The FTC and Amazon both declined to comment, Facebook did not have an immediate comment, and the DOJ did not immediately respond to the Journal's request for comment, Kathryn Krawczyk

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