Google’s search engine might be the subject of investigation from the U.S. DOJ, according to a Wall Street Journal article published on Saturday.
Google’s ad and search practices are reportedly going to be investigated, as well as other related businesses.
While details are still scarce, the move from the Justice Department follows an increase in antitrust scrutiny actions directed at Google and a handful of the largest and most powerful big tech companies. Most of the heat on these Silicon Valley giants comes from US and worldwide policymakers that are calling for tougher regulation on privacy policies and advertising practices.
Democrat Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is only one of the latest lawmakers that made it a part of their platform agenda to break the likes of Google, Facebook or Amazon. Many other Washington leaders have been accusing tech companies like Google of strangling competition and orchestrating misinformation campaigns or privacy mishaps on various tech platforms in an attempt to gobble up their competitors.
A few weeks ago, one of the Facebook co-founders, Chris Hughes, also called for an investigation on Facebook’s anti competition practices.
This is not the first investigation into Google’s practices. A 2013 FTC investigation looked into the company’s advertising practices and searched for broad antitrust violations. The investigation was however closed and the FTC concluded then that there were no violations to report, and took no further action against the search giant.
Previously, Google was the subject of three antitrust fines levied against them by the European Union. So far, the tech giant has had to pay over 9 billion USD, related to its search practices, their Android operating system, and a few non-compete contracts forced upon their customers together with their AdSense product.
As for the current investigation, it is not yet clear what parts of Google’s business the probe will focus on, and whether the EU antitrust authority’s fines will be echoed.