US: FTC chair aims to resolve Big Tech antitrust probes this year

In a fireside chat Tuesday, January 7, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Joseph Simons suggested that the agency could conclude its antitrust probes into Facebook and other tech companies this year. Simons brought up the high tech investigations when asked what would make 2020 a successful year for the FTC.

“This is such an important area,” he said. “We want to make sure these investigations are done thoroughly, that they’re done properly, and they’re done efficiently, and we either decide to bring an enforcement action or not. We want to do that in the best timeframe possible.”

Simons also said continuing the FTC’s record of “vigorous enforcement” would make 2020 a success.

If the agency does finish its Big Tech inquiries this year, it could result in serious revelations about an industry that has become a key issue in the 2020 presidential races ahead of the election.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s proposal to break up big tech companies like Amazon and Facebook is part of her bid for the White House. Other candidates, like Sen. Bernie Sanders and entrepreneur Andrew Yang, have repeatedly attacked tech giants for anti-competitive behavior and treatment of their workforce.

The FTC and Department of Justice have reportedly divvied up the investigative responsibility for America’s biggest tech companies. Over the summer, Facebook confirmed it is being investigated by the FTC, which Simons reiterated Tuesday.

“We’ve already confirmed what Facebook disclosed, that we are in fact investigating them for potential antitrust violations,” he said. “We have other investigations going on, as well.”

Bloomberg reported the FTC is also interviewing third-party sellers on Amazon to determine whether the company is abusing its dominance.

Full Content: Geek Wire

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