Attorneys general representing 48 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, announced the opening of a sweeping anti-trust investigation into Google on Monday from the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Texas attorney general Ken Paxton, who will help lead the probe with eight fellow attorneys general, accused Google of “dominat[ing] all aspects of advertising on the Internet and searching on the Internet,” while announcing the broad investigation, the Washington Post reported.
The probe will focus on whether Google’s all-encompassing business model unlawfully harms competition and consumers.
“When there is no longer a free market or competition, this increases prices, even when something is marketed as free, and harms consumers,” said Florida attorney general Ashley Moody, a Republican. “Is something really free if we are increasingly giving over our privacy information? Is something really free if online ad prices go up based on one company’s control.”
California attorney general Xavier Becerra, a Democrat, and Alabama attorney general Steve Marshall, a Republican, are the only state attorneys general to opt out of participating in the probe.
Google is already facing anti-trust scrutiny at the federal level from Congress and the Department of Justice. In an investor filing released Friday, the company revealed that the DOJ sent a mandatory request for information late last month as part of its broader Silicon Valley anti-trust review.
“We continue to cooperate with the DOJ, federal and state regulators in the United States, and other regulators around the world,” the company said in its filing.
Shares of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, were down 0.9 percent on news of the increased anti-trust scrutiny.