Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate potential anti-competitive effects in Google’s search and digital advertising practices shortly after President Donald Trump made several unfounded or false claims about anti-conservative bias on Google search.
Hatch sent FTC chairman Joseph Simons a letter Thursday, August 30, in which he expressed concern about “recent reports on Google’s search and digital advertising practices.” Hatch’s letter cites a variety of “disquieting” reports.
The senator mentioned a 60 Minutes segment from MaY that highlighted Google’s massive size and power over other web companies, as well as a July controversy over third-party app developers which were given access to Gmail message content.
He also mentioned that Google has “decided to remove from its platforms legal businesses that the company apparently does not agree with” — which could be a reference to Google blocking gun sales from its shopping platform, blocking ads from disreputable drug and alcohol treatment centers, or simply banning YouTube channels.
Earlier this summer, Simons said the agency would keep a close eye on big tech companies that dominate the internet. In a previous investigation, the FTC decided that Google was likely justified in developing a search function that harmed other companies.