DOJ and State AGs Preparing to Bring Antitrust Case Against Google
Written by Luis Miguel
A number of state attorneys general met with the Department of Justice late last week in preparation for an antitrust case against Google. Politico reports that the current focus of the case is on the tech giant’s dominance of digital advertising. The matter of search bias is not yet included.
Politico noted of the meeting between the DOJ and state AGs:
Since September, the two groups have been scrutinizing various aspects of the search giant’s business. Unlike previous probes into the tech company, prosecutors started by analyzing Google’s control over the technology used to serve, buy and sell the online advertising that funds many websites. News publishers and other advertisers have complained about Google’s dominance in the “ad tech” market.
Specifically, they examined areas where Google has previously been investigated by the FTC and European authorities for giving advantages to its own products and the use of exclusive contracts requiring the use of Google as the default browser on Android smartphones.
Google defends itself by arguing that the ad tech market is highly competitive and its products compete with those of other major companies, such as Amazon, Verizon, and AT&T. Moreover, the company denied that it gives preference to its own products while claiming that its open-source operating system has led to more affordable phones for consumers.
Politico later noted that prosecutors are “still discussing whether to include other aspects of Google’s conduct related to search.” As it stands, the case does not include search bias.
That could change, however, as Attorney General Bill Barr has not yet made his final decision on whether to file a DOJ case against Google, meaning search bias could be added.
The people cautioned that Attorney General William Barr, who did not attend the meeting, has yet to make a final decision on whether to sue, a judgment he could make in the coming weeks. The department would also need to decide what remedy it would seek, such as trying to break up the company or placing limits on its behavior. Whether the state attorneys general would also sign on to the DOJ complaint isn’t yet determined.
Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) urged Barr to make search bias part of the DOJ case, which is reportedly likely to go to litigation.
One example of search bias is in the case of travel searches. Companies such as TripAdvisor have for years complained that Google search results favor the tech company’s own travel services over theirs.
Search bias is also significant because of its effect on the information users consume. Thus, it can play a major role in determining the outcome of an election.
Google, like many of the large tech companies, often censors right-wing political voices. Earlier this month, Google banned the website ZeroHedge from its ad platform for two articles that examine Black Lives Matter’s funding. One of the articles was a reprint of a story from The New American.
Around the same time, The Federalist was threatened with having its ad account terminated. The two incidents prompted Representative Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) to ask Attorney General Barr to “add Google to the list of subpoena recipients for the ongoing investigation into election interference, censorship and foreign meddling.”
On Monday Google-owned YouTube eliminated the accounts of several users whose political views diverge from the liberal narrative. One of them was philosopher and social-media personality Stefan Molyneux, who has been a guest on The New American.
Also on Monday, Reddit deleted the large pro-Trump community r_The Donald, while Twitch temporarily banned the president’s account for his 2016 remark about “rapists” coming to the country from Mexico.
Hawley and the DOJ both seek to reign in Big Tech by going after its legal protections.
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act provides these digital platforms with immunity from lawsuits related to user-generated content. Currently, this immunity means that Google, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and other companies are not liable when a person is defamed on their platform in the way that a traditional publisher would be.
Hawley introduced legislation that would remove these protections unless they change their terms of service to promise they will operate in good faith, allowing users to sue them.
The DOJ, meanwhile, is working on a proposal that would take away Section 230 protections for social-media content involving online child exploitation and sexual abuse, terrorism, cyberstalking, or other crimes.
Luis Miguel is a marketer and writer whose journalistic endeavors shed light on the Deep State, the immigration crisis, and the enemies of freedom. Follow his exploits on Facebook, Twitter, Bitchute, and at luisantoniomiguel.com.
Courtesy of The New American