WASHINGTON – The U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday it was opening a broad investigation of major digital technology firms into whether they engage in anti-competitive practices, the strongest sign the Trump administration is stepping up its scrutiny of Big Tech.
The review will look into “whether and how market-leading online platforms have achieved market power and are engaging in practices that have reduced competition, stifled innovation, or otherwise harmed consumers,” the Justice Department said in a statement.
The Justice Department did not identify specific companies but said the review would consider concerns raised about “search, social media, and some retail services online” — an apparent reference to Alphabet Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Facebook Inc., and potentially Apple Inc.
A Justice Department spokesman declined to provide a list of companies that would be scrutinized.
Google and Apple declined to comment, referring to prior statements by executives, while Facebook and Amazon did not immediately comment.
Facebook fell 1.7% in after-hours trading, while Alphabet fell 1%, Amazon was down 1.2% and Apple was 0.4% lower.
The announcement comes a day before the Federal Trade Commission is set to announce a $5 billion penalty to Facebook for failing to properly protect user privacy.