Attorneys general of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and the District of Columbia will join the probe, according to the announcement. It will focus “on Facebook’s dominance in the industry and the potential anticompetitive conduct stemming from that dominance,” according to the release.
“Even the largest social media platform in the world must follow the law and respect consumers,” James said in a press release. “I am proud to be leading a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general in investigating whether Facebook has stifled competition and put users at risk. We will use every investigative tool at our disposal to determine whether Facebook’s actions may have endangered consumer data, reduced the quality of consumers’ choices, or increased the price of advertising.”
Facebook shares were down about 0.5% in pre-market trading Friday morning, but did not seem to react to James’ announcement.
Facebook is already facing a separate investigation by the Federal Trade Commission over antitrust concerns, the company confirmed in its quarterly report in July. The announcement came on the same day that the FTC announced its $5 billion settlement with Facebook over its privacy policies.
So far, regulatory action against Facebook has had little impact on its business or stock performance. The day the FTC fine was announced, Facebook’s market value rose more than the cost of the penalty. The $5 billion fine represented about 9% of the company’s 2018 revenue.
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The news comes as more than 30 state attorney generals are expected to launch a separate probe into Google over antitrust concerns, according to a source familiar with the matter. The investigation, expected to be announced on Sept. 9, will be led by the Texas state attorney general, according to the source. The Google probe will focus on the company’s effect on digital advertising markets and possible consumer harm, a source told The Wall Street Journal.
-CNBC’s Ylan Mui contributed to this report.
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