Google faces antitrust investigation by 50 attorneys general

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A coalition of 50 attorneys general announced an antitrust investigation into Google on Monday.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is leading the bipartisan inquiry to determine whether the search engine giant engaged in anti-competitive practices.

The coalition includes the attorneys general of 48 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. Attorney General Steve Marshall of Alabama and Attorney General Xavier Becerra of California did not join the coalition. Google’s headquarters is located in Mountain View, California.

AGs will focus on Google advertising and search businesses

During a press conference, AG Paxton noted the Google “dominates all aspects” of advertising, searching, buyer and seller sites, auctions and even video platforms. He clarified, “This investigation is not a lawsuit. It is an investigation to determine the facts. Right now we are looking at advertising. The fact will lead where they lead.”

In addition, Paxton explained that the leadership team of the antitrust investigation will meet once a week. He said, “It will be an open process” for the states involved.

On the other hand, Washington D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine reiterated that they are focused on determining whether Google engaged in “monopolistic behavior” involving “search.” He emphasized that their investigation will be “fair and thorough” by following the facts.

Last week, Google’s parent holding company, Alphabet confirmed that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is conducting an antitrust investigation. The company received a civil investigative demand from the DOJ on August 30 and also expected a similar probe from state attorneys general.

The announcement confirmed previous reports that Google has been a target of a broad antitrust inquiry by federal and state regulators, who are not only focusing their sights of the search engine giant but on the entire online industry.

Last week, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that she is leading a multistate antitrust investigation into Facebook. The social media giant welcomed the inquiry and vowed to work with attorneys general.