Fifty attorney generals, representing 48 US states and also Puerto Rico and Washington DC, announced they will join Attorney General Ken Paxton of Texas in an antitrust investigation of Google and Facebook. “We have seen evidence that Google’s business practices may have undermined consumer choice, stifled innovation, violated users’ privacy and put Google in control of the flow and dissemination of online information”, said Paxton.
It’s part of a wave: 11 cases have been brought against Facebook for antitrust, privacy and discrimination violations, with $5 billion already issued in fines, while Apple and Amazon are also up against three antitrust investigations. .
Over the past 10 years, our information has been consolidated to a degree we’ve never seen before. Advertising is the prominent business model for journalism and has been its financial lifeline in the digital age. Now, due to Google and Facebook’s near monopoly on digital advertising, nearly half of all newspaper journalism jobs have been eliminated since 2007. Both companies force publishers to hand over data about readers and subscribers which solidifies their control, as data is what advertisers want most.