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Alabama May Be The Only State Not Investigating Google For Alleged Violations Of Antitrust Laws

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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Alabama may be the only state in the U.S. that is not investigating Google now that California has reportedly joined 48 other states in opening an antitrust into the massive online search engine.

California joined 48 states currently investigating Google’s business model over concerns related to its ad technology, Politico reported Thursday, citing sources with knowledge of the inquiry. The Golden State’s reported decision to target Google makes Alabama the only state not investigating the tech giant’s advertising business.

The attorneys general from nearly every state in the country, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, announced investigations in September focused on Google’s dominance in advertising. The probe was led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, and has expanded into other elements of the company’s business.

Paxton’s announcement in 2019 came days after a similar move from New York Attorney General Letitia James. She announced an antitrust investigation with eight other attorneys general from Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina and Ohio into Facebook for similar monopoly concerns.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra speaks about President Trump's proposal to weaken national greenhouse gas emission and fuel efficiency regulations, at a media conference in Los Angeles, California, Aug. 2, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Attorney General Xavier Becerra has avoided publicly explaining the reason for not announcing a probe into other hot-button industries in the past. For example, he refused to publicly acknowledge in 2017 a potential probe targeting ExxonMobil’s climate record, despite calls to do so from environmental activists.

Becerra’s predecessor, now-Sen. Kamala Harris, made a similar decision regarding the oil company before running for Senate in 2017. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Louisiana AG Jeff Landry Says He’s Focusing On COVID-19 Response, Declines To Reveal Future Of Google Probe)

California, home to Facebook and Google, joined in a probe alongside the Federal Trade Commission and other states in 2010 over allegations Google biased its search results to favor its own products. The FTC closed its probe in January 2013 without filing a lawsuit. The other states later closed their probes in 2014.

Neither Becerra’s office nor Google responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment about the reported investigation. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall also did not return the DCNF’s request for comment addressing whether the state intends to open an antitrust investigation.

The Department of Justice opened an investigation into Google in August and has worked closely with the states on an investigation, according to multiple reports. Reports from The Wall Street Journal in May and CNBC in June suggest the DOJ and Paxton are well into the planning stages of an antitrust lawsuit.

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