DOJ Announces Review of Practices of Market-Leading Online Platforms (Google, Facebook, etc.)


The Department of Justice has announced that it is going to begin reviewing the exclusionary practices of certain big tech Internet giants.

DOJ said it will be looking to “Review Focuses on Practices that Create or Maintain Structural Impediments to Greater Competition and User Benefits.”

The nation’s top law enforcement agency made its announcement with a July 23 press release:

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WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice announced today that the Department’s Antitrust Division is reviewing whether and how market-leading online platforms have achieved market power and are engaging in practices that have reduced competition, stifled innovation, or otherwise harmed consumers.

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The Department’s review will consider the widespread concerns that consumers, businesses, and entrepreneurs have expressed about search, social media, and some retail services online. The Department’s Antitrust Division is conferring with and seeking information from the public, including industry participants who have direct insight into competition in online platforms, as well as others.

“Without the discipline of meaningful market-based competition, digital platforms may act in ways that are not responsive to consumer demands,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Antitrust Division. “The Department’s antitrust review will explore these important issues.”

The goal of the Department’s review is to assess the competitive conditions in the online marketplace in an objective and fair-minded manner and to ensure Americans have access to free markets in which companies compete on the merits to provide services that users want. If violations of law are identified, the Department will proceed appropriately to seek redress.

What Does It Mean?

The investigation means that DOJ is looking into the quashing of free speech as well as advertising on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google.

The DOJ is also looking to see if these Internet giants have violated laws meant to prevent monopolies and unfair trade practices.

It is too early to say that the investigation will fix anything, but at least the government is finally looking into the matter.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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