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Justice Department Launches Antitrust Probe Of Big Tech

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AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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In this April 10, 2018, file photo Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg takes his seat to testify before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Washington Post reported on Tuesday, July 23, 2019, that the Feder

The U.S. Justice Department says it is opening a sweeping antitrust investigation of big technology companies and whether their online platforms have hurt competition, suppressed innovation or otherwise harmed consumers.

It comes as a growing number of lawmakers have called for stricter regulation or even breaking up of the big tech companies, which have come under intense scrutiny following a series of scandals that compromised users' privacy.

President Donald Trump also has relentlessly criticized the big tech companies by name in recent months.

The Justice Department did not name specific companies in its announcement.

Earlier, the Washington Post is reporting that the Federal Trade Commission will allege that Facebook misled users about its privacy practices as part of an expected settlement.

The federal business watchdog will reportedly find that Facebook deceived users about how it handled phone numbers it asked for as part of a security feature and provided insufficient information about how to turn off a facial recognition tool for photos.

Advertisers were reportedly able to target users who provided their phone number as part of a two-factor authentication security feature.

The FTC didn't respond immediately to a request for comment. Facebook had no comment.

The complaints will reportedly be detailed in a settlement on Wednesday. Facebook won't be required to admit guilt but will have to submit to federal oversight, the newspaper reported.

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. Founded in 1846, AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.
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