Big Tech Antitrust Investigations: Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google Updates

Welcome to page two, featuring anti-trust updates involving Facebook, France, Germany, Google/Alphabet, India, Italy, Japan, Microsoft, Netflix, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Facebook: Multiple updates…

  • Regulation intended to address the news industry’s problems with Google and Facebook could have adverse consequences, said outgoing New York Times Chief Executive Officer Mark Thompson in an interview. Source: Reuters, July 23, 2020.
  • Facebook is suing European Union (EU) antitrust regulators for seeking information beyond what is necessary, including highly personal details, for their investigations into the company’s data and marketplace, the U.S. social media group said. Source: Reuters, July 27, 2020.
  • Facebook has won the first round of its court battle against what it says are excessive demands from European Union antitrust regulators after Europe’s second-top court temporarily halted such requests until it makes a final ruling. Source: Reuters, July 28, 2020.
  • Here’s a transcript of what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to say during a congressional hearing focused on Big Tech antitrust concerns. Source: ChannelE2E, July 29, 2020.
  • Google and Facebook took particularly sharp jabs for alleged abuse of their market power from Democrats and Republicans in a much-anticipated congressional hearing that put four of America’s most prominent tech CEOs in the hot seat. Source: Reuters, July 29, 2020.
  • Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg stumbled at a congressional hearing on alleged abuse of market power, as lawmakers confronted the social media titan with damaging internal emails about the company’s acquisitions. Source: Reuters, July 29, 2020.
  • Technology firms’ compliance with European restrictions on transatlantic data transfers is shockingly poor, Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrems said, publishing a survey here of companies including Facebook and Netflix. Source: Reuters, September 28, 2020.
  • A government effort to break up Facebook from Instagram and WhatsApp would defy established law, cost billions of dollars and harm consumers, according to a paper company lawyers have prepared in the wake of rising antitrust legal threats. Source: The Wall Street Journal, October 4, 2020.
  • Senator Marsha Blackburn, a Republican and a tough critic of the big tech companies, urged the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday to interview some former employees of Facebook as part of its probe of the social media giant. Both the FTC and groups of state attorneys general are widely believed to be planning litigation against Facebook for breaking antitrust law. Source: Reuters, November 12, 2020.
  • A group of U.S. states led by New York is investigating Facebook for possible antitrust violations and plans to file a lawsuit against the social media giant the week of December 7, 2020. Source: Reuters, December 2, 2020.
  • The U.S. Justice Department accused Facebook of discriminating against U.S. workers, saying in a new lawsuit the social media giant has given hiring preferences to temporary workers, including those who hold H-1B visas. Source: Reuters, December 3, 2020.
  • Facebook could be forced to sell WhatsApp and Instagram after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and nearly every U.S. state filed lawsuits against the social media company. The lawsuits claim Facebook used a “buy or bury” strategy to snap up rivals and keep smaller competitors at bay. Source: Reuters, December 9, 2020.
  • Texas and nine other states sued Google, accusing it of working with Facebook in an unlawful manner that violated antitrust law to boost its already-dominant online advertising business. Source: Reuters, December 16, 2020.
  • Facebook and Google agreed to “cooperate and assist one another” if they ever faced an investigation into their pact to work together in online advertising, according to an unredacted version of a lawsuit filed by 10 states against Google last week. Source: The Wall Street Journal, December 22, 2020.
  • Facebook is facing a second London High Court class action over allegations it failed to protect the personal details of about one million people in England and Wales, in the latest lawsuit to spring from a scandal over data harvesting. Source: Reuters, February 9, 2021.
  • Italy’s competition watchdog has fined Facebook 7 million euros ($8.5 million) for not complying with a request to correct improper commercial practices in its treatment of user data. Source: Reuters, February 16, 2021.
  • Facebook faced an angry backlash after blocking news feeds in Australia in a surprise escalation of a dispute with the government which could be a test for the future of online publishing worldwide. Source: Reuters, February 17, 2021.
  • Facebook, following in Google’s footsteps, says it plans to invest $1 billion to “support the news industry” over the next three years. The move comes amid complaints that the Facebook and Google business models consume and share content without paying content creators — thereby pressuring traditional media businesses. Source: Associated Press, February 24, 2021.
  • Ireland’s data regulator has given Facebook  six weeks to respond to an investigation that may trigger a ban on the social media giant’s transatlantic data transfers following a High Court ruling that the probe could resume. Source: Reuters, May 21, 2021.
  • Europe and Britain launched formal antitrust investigations into Facebook to determine if the world’s largest social network is using customers’ data to unfairly compete with advertisers, in a new threat to its business model. Source: Reuters, June 4, 2021.


FTC: Lina Khan has been named chair of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Khan is an outspoken critic of Big Tech. As a law student four years ago, Khan published a highly influential paper that recast the debate over anticompetitive behavior, particularly among Big Tech firms. In the paper, titled “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox,” Khan argued that using prices as the primary gauge of anticompetitive behavior was an insufficient measure of market power among certain firms, particularly Big Tech companies and their platforms. Source: Ars Technica, June 16, 2021.


France: Multiple updates…

  • France’s newly-appointed Environment Minister Barbara Pompili said she would push to pause the development of warehouses used by online businesses such as Amazon, in a possible setback for the e-commerce giant. Source: Reuters, July 23, 2020.
  • France’s data privacy watchdog has handed out its biggest ever fine of 100 million euros ($121 million) to Google for breaching the country’s rules on online advertising trackers (cookies). Source: Reuters, December 10, 2020.
  • Google is nearing a settlement of an antitrust case in France. The case alleges the company has abused its power in online advertising. Google is likely to pay a fine and make operational changes. Source: The Wall Street Journal, May 27, 2021.
  • Google agreed to change some of its online advertising services under an unprecedented settlement with France’s antitrust watchdog. The watchdog also find Google $267.48 million after a probe found the search giant abused its market power in the intricate ad business online. Source: Reuters, June 7, 2021.
  • France’s antitrust watchdog slapped a 500 million euro ($593 million) fine on Alphabet’s Google for failing to comply with the regulator’s orders on how to conduct talks with the country’s news publishers in a row over copyright. Source: Reuters, July 13, 2021.

Germany: Multiple Update…

  • Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet approved draft digital antitrust legislation that will give German authorities more tools to combat market abuse by large tech companies. The law, which has yet to be approved by parliament, would expand the powers of the Federal Cartel Office to regulate companies that dominate the Internet economy. The proposed rules would allow the German antitrust regulator to step in if marketplace platforms use the data they collect from smaller businesses through their site to undercut competitors. Source: Bloomberg, September 9, 2020.
  • The trade union Verdi has called for workers at six Amazon sites in Germany to go on strike from March 28, 2021, evening for four days in the latest attempt to try to force the U.S. e-commerce group to recognize collective bargaining agreements. Source: Reuters, March 28, 2021.
  • Germany’s antitrust watchdog has launched a probe into whether Google Germany, Google Ireland and its parent company Alphabet are exploiting their market dominance in the way they handle data. Source: Reuters, May 25, 2021.
  • Germany’s antitrust watchdog, known as the the Federal Cartel Office (FCO), has launched an investigation into whether Apple was exploiting its market dominance, following similar proceedings into U.S. tech rivals Facebook, Amazon and Google. Source: Reuters, June 21, 2021.


Google and Alphabet: Multiple updates…

  • Regulation intended to address the news industry’s problems with Google and Facebook could have adverse consequences, said outgoing New York Times Chief Executive Officer Mark Thompson in an interview. Source: Reuters, July 23, 2020.
  • Australia’s competition regulator on July 27, 2020, accused Alphabet’s Google of misleading consumers to get permission for use of their personal data for targeted advertising, seeking a fine “in the millions” and aiming to establish a precedent. Source: Reuters, July 26, 2020.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel will hold a hearing on September 15 to discuss Google’s dominance in online advertising, Republican Senator Mike Lee said. Source: Reuters, July 27, 2020.
  • Google and Facebook took particularly sharp jabs for alleged abuse of their market power from Democrats and Republicans in a much-anticipated congressional hearing that put four of America’s most prominent tech CEOs in the hot seat. Source: Reuters, July 29, 2020.
  • Google’s $2.1 billion bid for fitness tracker maker Fitbit will face a full-scale EU antitrust investigation next week, people familiar with the matter said. Source: Reuters, July 30, 2020.
  • The U.S. Justice Department is moving “full-tilt” on its antitrust investigation of Alphabet Inc’s Google and other Big Tech platforms. Source: Reuters, August 13, 2020.
  • Some Justice Department staffers have expressed internal concerns over plans to bring an antitrust lawsuit against Google —and what they view as an aggressive timeline favored by Attorney General William Barr. Source: The Wall Street Journal, August 17, 2020.
  • The Justice Department, which has been conducting an antitrust investigation of Alphabet Inc.’s Google, plans to bring a lawsuit against Google as soon as this month. The focus remains on search and advertising. Source: Reuters, September 3, 2020.
  • Italy’s antitrust authority has opened an inquiry into Google, Apple and Dropbox over cloud computing services. Source: Reuters, September 7, 2020.
  • Alphabet’s Google will be questioned about its ad business in a hearing on September 15, 2020, with a particular focus expected on whether it misused its dominance in online advertising to drive profits. Source: Reuters, September 15, 2020.
  • China is preparing to launch an antitrust probe into Alphabet Google, looking into allegations it has leveraged the dominance of its Android mobile operating system to stifle competition. Source: Reuters, September 30, 2020.
  • The U.S. Justice Department is expected to sue Alphabet’s Google as soon as the first week of October 202o, and is currently urging state attorneys general to sign onto the lawsuit. Source: Reuters, September 29, 2020.
  • The U.S. Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet Inc’s Google on October 20, 2020, accusing the company of illegally using its market power to fend off rivals and said nothing was off the table, including a breakup of the internet search and advertising company. Source: Reuters, October 20, 2020.
  • Alphabet’s Google said the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit against the company was “deeply flawed” and that users would find it more difficult to access superior search tools and affordable smartphones if the government wins its case. Source: Reuters, October 20, 2020.
  • Alphabet’s Google must respond to the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit by December 19, 2020, according to a court filing. Source: Reuters, October 23, 2020.
  • A group of 165 companies and industry bodies have called on EU antitrust enforcers to take a tougher line against Google, saying the U.S. tech giant unfairly favours its own services on its web searches. Source: Reuters, November 12, 2020.
  • Google faces fresh regulatory scrutiny in Britain over plans to revamp its ad data system, after a group of competitors complained to regulators that the changes would cement the U.S. tech giant’s online dominance. Source: Reuters, November 23, 2020.
  • The National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint  accusing Google of unlawfully monitoring and questioning several workers who were then fired for protesting against company policies and trying to organize a union. Source: Reuters, December 2, 2020.
  • A top Google scientist on ethical artificial intelligence says she was fired after criticizing the company’s diversity efforts, a claim the Alphabet Inc unit disputed, in the latest brush-up between the internet giant and worker activists. Source: Reuters, December 3, 2020.
  • Google and digital advertising firms are the targets of fresh privacy complaints filed in six EU countries over the way they sell ads to potential advertisers through a bidding process. Source: Reuters, December 10, 2020.
  • France’s data privacy watchdog has handed out its biggest ever fine of 100 million euros ($121 million) to Google for breaching the country’s rules on online advertising trackers (cookies). Source: Reuters, December 10, 2020.
  • Texas and nine other states sued Google, accusing it of working with Facebook in an unlawful manner that violated antitrust law to boost its already-dominant online advertising business. Source: Reuters, December 16, 2020.
  • Facebook and Google agreed to “cooperate and assist one another” if they ever faced an investigation into their pact to work together in online advertising, according to an unredacted version of a lawsuit filed by 10 states against Google last week. Source: The Wall Street Journal, December 22, 2020.
  • Google said it would block its search engine in Australia if the government proceeds with a new code that would force Google and Facebook to pay media companies for the right to use their content. Source: Reuters, January 21, 2021.
  • Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai will hold a video-conference call with EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager on January 25, 2021, according to a European Commission schedule published on January 22, 2021. Source: Reuters, January 22, 2021.
  • Australia claimed an early win in a protracted licensing battle with Google as media companies lined up to announce content deals with the internet giant that were reportedly far more lucrative than their global rivals. Source: Reuters, February 17, 2021.
  • Google will cut the service fee it charges developers on its app store by half on the first $1 million they earn in revenue in a year, after a similar move by rival Apple in 2020. Source: Reuters, March 16, 2021.
  • Four more states have joined a lawsuit filed by Texas and others against Alphabet’s Google that accuses it of breaking antitrust laws to boost its already dominant advertising business, the Texas attorney general said. Source: Reuters, March 16, 2021.
  • Google’s plan to block web-based cookies is a source of concern for U.S. Justice Department investigators who have been asking advertising industry executives whether the move by the search giant will hobble its smaller rivals. Source: Reuters, March 18, 2021.
  • Google and Apple’s “symbiotic relationship” should get scrutiny from the U.K.’s antitrust regulator, a group of online advertisers said. Source: Bloomberg, March 22, 2021.
  • Two advocacy groups called on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate whether apps that Google’s Play Store labels as “Teacher approved” are unlawfully collecting personal data without parental consent to target ads at children. The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) and the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) cited reports from three separate research groups since June 2020 that concluded Play Store apps aimed at children quietly transmitted data about individual users to other companies. Source: Reuters, March 31, 2021.
  • Google and Apple executives have agreed to testify before the U.S. Senate on competition issues related to mobile app stores. The testimony is expected April 21, 2021. Source: Reuters, April 11, 2021.
  • Google misled some consumers about personal location data collected through Android mobile devices, Australia’s competition regulator said. Source: Reuters, April 16, 2021.
  • A U.S. judge dismissed antitrust claims against Alphabet’s Google brought by a group of advertisers, but offered them a chance to try again after addressing what she called “serious concerns.” Source: Reuters, May 12, 2021.
  • Germany’s antitrust watchdog has launched a probe into whether Google Germany, Google Ireland and its parent company Alphabet are exploiting their market dominance in the way they handle data. Source: Reuters, May 25, 2021.
  • Google is nearing a settlement of an antitrust case in France. The case alleges the company has abused its power in online advertising. Google is likely to pay a fine and make operational changes. Source: The Wall Street Journal, May 27, 2021.
  • Google agreed to change some of its online advertising services under an unprecedented settlement with France’s antitrust watchdog. The watchdog also find Google $267.48 million after a probe found the search giant abused its market power in the intricate ad business online. Source: Reuters, June 7, 2021.
  • Google has bowed to pressure from rivals and will let them compete for free to be the default search engines on Android devices in Europe, widening a pledge to EU antitrust regulators two years ago. Source: Reuters, June 8, 2021.
  • Ohio asked a court Google a public utility, a step the state’s Republican attorney general said would forbid the search and advertising giant from giving preferential treatment to its own products. Source: Reuters, June 8, 2021.
  • Executives from Google and Amazon will head the list of witnesses for a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee the week of June 14, 2021, along with an executive from speaker maker Sonos — which has been critical of the two tech giants. Source: Reuters, June 11, 2021.
  • A U.S. appeals court revived a lawsuit in which shareholders of Google parent Alphabet accused the company of fraudulently concealing security vulnerabilities, including in its Google+ social network. Source: Reuters, June 16, 2021.
  • EU regulators opened an investigation into Google’s lucrative digital advertising business to examine whether it favors Google’s own business over rivals, advertisers and online publishers. Source: Reuters, June 22, 2021.
  • Thirty-seven U.S. state and district attorneys general sued Google, alleging the search giant bought off competitors and used restrictive contracts to unlawfully maintain a monopoly for its app store on Android phones. Source: Reuters, July 8, 2021.
  • France’s antitrust watchdog slapped a 500 million euro ($593 million) fine on Alphabet’s Google for failing to comply with the regulator’s orders on how to conduct talks with the country’s news publishers in a row over copyright. Source: Reuters, July 13, 2021.


India: Multiple updates…

  • Amazon documents reveal the company’s secret strategy to dodge India’s regulators. Source: Reuters, February 17, 2021.
  • An Indian court dismissed pleas by Amazon.com and Walmart’s Flipkart to quash an antitrust investigation, more than a year after the probe was put on hold after legal challenges by the companies. Source: Reuters, June 11, 2021.

Italy: Multiple updates…

  • Italy’s antitrust authority has opened an inquiry into Google, Apple and Dropbox over cloud computing services. Source: Reuters, September 7, 2020.
  • Italy’s antitrust authority is investigating Alphabet’s Google for alleged abuse of its dominant position in the Italian online display advertising market. Source: Reuters, October 28. 2020.
  • Apple faces an Italian class-action lawsuit seeking compensation over misleading claims about the battery life of older iPhones. Source: Bloomberg, January 25, 2021.
  • Italy’s competition watchdog has fined Facebook 7 million euros ($8.5 million) for not complying with a request to correct improper commercial practices in its treatment of user data. Source: Reuters, February 16, 2021.
  • Amazon’s workers in Italy will go on a 24-hour strike on March 22 after negotiations with the U.S. online giant over working conditions broke down, trade unions said. Source: Reuters, March 11, 2021.

Ireland: The country’s data regulator has given Facebook  six weeks to respond to an investigation that may trigger a ban on the social media giant’s transatlantic data transfers following a High Court ruling that the probe could resume. Source: Reuters, May 21, 2021.


Japan: Japan will join forces with the United States and Europe to take on any market abuses by the four Big Tech companies, the new head of its antitrust watchdog said, a sign Tokyo will join global efforts to regulate digital platform operators. Source: Reuters, October 19, 2020.


Microsoft: Microsoft may find itself in EU antitrust regulators’ crosshairs yet again after U.S. workspace messaging app Slack Technologies complained about the company embedding its workplace chat and video app Teams in its Office product. Source: Reuters, July 22, 2020.


Netflix: Technology firms’ compliance with European restrictions on transatlantic data transfers is shockingly poor, Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrems said, publishing a survey here of companies including Facebook and Netflix. Source: Reuters, September 28, 2020.


Small Business Rising: A group called Small Business Rising has formed to promote stronger antitrust laws while also pushing legislators to break up Amazon. Small Business Rising’s goals are outlined here. Source: Small Business Rising, April 6, 2021.


Spain: Amazon will raise fees for Spanish companies using its platform by 3% from April after the government imposed a digital tax, a company document reveals. Source: Reuters, January 22, 2021.



United Kingdom: Multiple updates…

  • Facebook is facing a second London High Court class action over allegations it failed to protect the personal details of about one million people in England and Wales, in the latest lawsuit to spring from a scandal over data harvesting. Source: Reuters, February 9, 2021.
  • Britain’s competition regulator has opened an investigation into Apple after complaints that the iPhone maker’s terms and conditions for app developers are unfair and anti-competitive. The probe will consider if Apple has a dominant position in the distribution of apps on its devices in the UK, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said. Source: Reuters, March 4, 2021.
  • Google and Apple’s “symbiotic relationship” should get scrutiny from the U.K.’s antitrust regulator, a group of online advertisers said. Source: Bloomberg, March 22, 2021.
  • Fortnite maker Epic Games has filed a complaint with Britain’s competition regulator in support of its investigation into Apple’s alleged anti-competitive behavior. Source: Reuters, March 30, 2021.
  • The UK’s competition regulator, known as the Competition and Markets Authority, plans to probe into Amazon’s use of data. Source: Financial Times, June 10, 2021.
  • Britain’s competition watchdog said it would investigate whether Apple and Google’s dominance of mobile phone operating systems, app stores and web browsers hurt consumers, launching its latest probe into the tech giants. The Competition and Markets Authority said it would undertake a “market study” into the matter to see whether the pair’s effective duopoly was stifling competition and ripping off consumers, or hurting businesses like app developers. Source: Reuters, June 15, 2021.

Visit page three for anti-trust updates involving the United States vs. Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and more.

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1 Comment

Comment

    Volker:

    Facebook violates data protection and Anti-Trust laws on a constant daily basis. Hundreds of thousands of people had their accounts deactivated for no reason, so did we,lost our Instagram account without warning, without any wrong doing. They do not have working customer service, it is basically a hoax. So we have started a petition asking those who have been unfairly treated to join in and sign at http://chng.it/6wq8fXxm

    VolkerC
    StarWars-Figuren.com

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