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US Launches Antitrust Probe On Google Over Advertising Practices

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48 Attorneys general in the US, each representing a state have launched an antitrust investigation into big techs, putting a pressure on companies that have enjoyed enormous and unfettered growth over the years. The major target is Google with its advertising practices.

General Ken Paxton, a Texas Attorney, who is in charge of the investigations said the probe will take a focus on Google, how it exhibits anticompetitive behaviour at the expense of its competitors with its overarching control and dominance of the online market place.

California and Alabama refused to be parts of the investigation process. Other states on Monday requested for Google’s documents on its advertising business, Paxton said at an announcement in Washington. Many attorneys present said the investigation should go beyond determining advert practices, and should cover other areas including data privacy.

Google isn’t the only big tech, but has dominated the industry because it has a brand that many people use as a verb. Instead of saying “search for it on Google,” people simply say “Google it!” Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge referred to Google’s search engine as a Juggernaut, the king of other search engines. In fact, many people have no idea that other search engines exist.  When people buy Android phones, they often come with Google preinstallation.  Users almost do not have the freedom to choose the best product from other companies.

When a company becomes a verb, it may seem as though, the states are David taking on Goliath but I am proud to stand tall with my fellow attorneys general,” Rutledge said.

Another Attorney General, Sean Reyes said the investigation was necessary for the benefit of the techs to enable them a level-playing field. Google has been at the forefront of the ecosystem, suppressing its competitors and force-feeding its users.

However, it’s quite ironical that Alphabet’s Google is the same company which was once applauded for improving economic growth in the State. It has now graced the headline of many online journals and blogs for misusing their clout and breaching privacy policies.

President Donald Trump accused the major big techs- Facebook, Twitter and Google for shutting down conservatives on their platforms, but didn’t provide any evidence to his claims. Google also faces backlash that its search results always lead consumers to its products and never to its rivals, which is allegedly an anti-competitive behaviour.

The Federal Trade Commission in 2013, ended a probe which ended in Google’s favour with a declaration that Google was not guilty of any anti-competitive behaviour. At the same time, Google agreed to halt the practice of “scraping”, a practice which involves using user’s data for the purpose of advertisement.

Facebook is currently under a probe by several attorneys over social media monopoly.

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