FTC secures authority to open antitrust probe into Facebook
It also has jurisdiction over Amazon
The Federal Trade Commission will be in charge of any antitrust investigations into Facebook, according to a new report in the Wall Street Journal Monday.
It’s part of an arrangement that permits the Justice Department to investigate Google while handing over Facebook and Amazon to the FTC. On Friday, reports surfaced that the Justice Department was preparing to open an antitrust probe into Google. It wasn’t immediately clear exactly what part of Google’s business that the Department would be investigating, but shortly after the news broke, The Washington Post confirmed that The FTC would be at the reigns of any investigations into Amazon.
Both the FTC and the Justice Department have the authority to enforce antitrust laws, but the agencies work out agreements over which one will investigate specific companies.
The FTC has spent over a year now looking into Facebook’s privacy practices following the company’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, but that specific investigation doesn’t extend into questions on antitrust. Since the FTC is now charged with the authority to investigate Facebook’s market power, it could mean that the agency will pursue an antitrust probe into the company.
These jurisdictional agreements don’t rule out other investigations that the FTC could pursue into Google. The FTC previously investigated Google for potential antitrust violations in 2013, but ended the probe without taking any action.