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Attorneys General From 47 States Probe Facebook

In a New York-led antitrust probe into Facebook, New York State Attorney General Letitia James said on Tuesday (Oct. 22) that 47 attorneys general from states and U.S. territories plan to participate in an investigation. The social media company’s shares dropped 3.9 percent on the news, CNBC reported.

James said in a statement, “After continued bipartisan conversations with attorneys general from around the country, today I am announcing that we have vastly expanded the list of states, districts and territories investigating Facebook for potential antitrust violations. Our investigation now has the support of 47 attorneys general from around the nation, who are all concerned that Facebook may have put consumer data at risk, reduced the quality of consumers’ choices and increased the price of advertising.”

The multistate probe was announced in September, with seven other states participating. However, it has since grown to almost the entire nation. The probe will seek to find out if the social media company went against any federal or state laws due to anti-competitive conduct when it comes to its social media dominance.

The investigation led by New York first included Florida, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Ohio, Tennessee, the District of Columbia and North Carolina. Attorneys general from Indiana, Delaware, Arizona and New Jersey — among a long list of states — are joining them.

The news comes as the Department of Justice (DOJ) was going to open a new, separate investigation into the potential antitrust activities of tech companies, per reports in July. It was noted then that this would compound troubles for companies like Facebook, Google and Apple, all of which are already the subjects of DOJ and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) probes.

According to Facebook at the time, the probe would look into whether these big-name companies were using their influence and power to stifle competition. The main avenues to be examined were social media practices, shopping services and internet search.

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