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The Justice Department announced on Tuesday that the world’s largest technology and internet companies will be facing a broad antitrust review. According to The New York Times, the Justice Department “did not name specific companies, but said it would look into concerns about search, social media and some retail services — presumably putting Google, Facebook and Amazon on notice.” The review, which is expected to be an examination of the market power each giant has accumulated, how they got the power, and how they acted to reduce competition, is similar to inquiries that are already taking place in Congress and at the Federal Trade Commision (FTC), both of which share antitrust oversight responsibilities with the Justice Department. ~
Since the 1970s, the general consensus for large tech companies is that if they stayed concerned about consumer welfare – such as lower prices for services and goods – they were unlikely to be in the federal light for intervention. But the growing concerns over the power and influence big tech has over U.S. citizens has led to federal government intervention in recent years, more specifically the last few months, in which the FTC and the Justice Department have divided up a plethora of topics and issues involving the power and reach of the big four tech giants – Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Justice Department will “examine issues including how the most dominant tech firms have grown in size and might—and expanded their reach into additional businesses,” as well as investigate how big tech companies have “leveraged the powers that come with having very large networks of users.” The FTC, on the other hand, opened its own task force to monitor competition in the industries of the big four in February. ~
According to the Justice Department, there is no specific end goal in mind for the antitrust review, besides gaining a better understanding of the biggest technology and internet companies power and influence over its consumers as well as determine if there are any notable antitrust issues that need to be addressed. ~
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