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The Ministry of Justice opens antitrust review of Big Tech companies



The Ministry of Justice's report cannot lead to complete investigations of the companies. But the time of the announcement shrinks the pressure on the tech giants. Throughout Washington over the past few weeks, lawmakers and regulators have come together to question Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple.

This month, F.T.C. voted to fines Facebook about $ 5 billion for mistreating users' personal information, by far the agency's biggest fine against a technical company. An official settlement settlement is expected as soon as Wednesday.

Last week, Facebook met lawmakers over two days of grilling after a new cryptocurrency initiative called Libra. Google was at the center of a Senate subcommittee that heard about exploration censorship. And at a separate hearing of the house, with witnesses from Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple, representative David Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island who heads a subcommittee on antitrust law, said the government's attitude was too long to celebrate the new tech economy rather than scrutinizing the company's managers.

"Congresses and antitrust enforcers allowed these companies to regulate themselves with little supervision," Cicilline said. "As a result, the internet has become increasingly concentrated, less open and increasingly hostile to innovation and entrepreneurship."

On Tuesday, Mr. Cicilline sent letters to three of the companies at last week's hearing – Google, Facebook and Amazon. He said he sought answers to questions that the Witnesses were asked, but did not respond directly. Mr. Cicilline characterized the previous responses as "elusive, incomplete or misleading."

The Ministry of Justice has increased its assessment of technology companies since May, a person with knowledge of the discussions said. Around that time, the Ministry of Justice and F.T.C. split up possible antitrust surveys into Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple, said that person.

The announcement announced on Tuesday is a separate and next step beyond the features of F.T.C., let this person. Over the past few weeks, antitrust and technology policy experts have visited the Justice Department more often when trying to understand the damage technology companies might have created. It has not yet formed the basis of a theory of injury, said the person. In the announcement of the review, the Ministry of Justice said it would look into whether the internet companies "harmed consumers."


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