A coalition of US states announced Friday an antitrust investigation of Facebook, in the first of what is expected to be a wave of action against dominant technology firms.
New York state Attorney General Letitia James released a statement announcing the action on behalf of seven other states and the District of Columbia to probe "whether Facebook has stifled competition and put users at risk."
The move marks the first official US antitrust action against one of the so-called Big Tech companies -- although a landmark case had targeted Microsoft back in the 1990s.
The case may be the first in a series of antitrust actions against Big Tech firms and highlights growing "techlash," based on worries about dominant platforms which control the flow of information.
The office of the Texas attorney general scheduled an event Monday in Washington with a "broad coalition of states" to unveil a multistate probe into "whether large tech companies have engaged in anticompetitive behavior that stifled competition, restricted access, and harmed consumers."
But some analysts say the case against the tech firms faces challenges because the companies have in many cases provided services for free and brought prices down, making it hard to prove they harmed "consumer welfare," the legal standard applied under judicial precedent.
But Stucke said it would be wrong to view antitrust law as solely focused on consumer prices, and that it may be applied to questions of competition and innovation.