(PoliticalLookout.com)- Watch out, Google. The Department of Justice is coming for you.
According to a New York Times report, the DOJ is about to file antitrust charges against Alphabet, the parent company of Google, and it could happen as early as this month. Some DOJ lawyers believe they need extra time to prepare the case, but it appears Attorney General William Barr is going to push forward with it anyway, according to the Times.
Last June, the DOJ opened a problem into Google that focused primarily on the company’s search engine business. Another broader probe was begun last July that looked at Google as well as Facebook, Amazon and other big tech companies to investigate whether they were working to stifle competition.
At the time, the DOJ said it would “consider the widespread concerns that consumers, businesses and entrepreneurs have expressed about search, social media and some retail services online.” In part, this led to testimony that was given by the heads of all these companies on July 29 to the House Judiciary Committee.
Barr has been particularly interested in investigating big tech companies, even saying at his confirmation hearing in January that he’d like the DOJ to pay more attention to them. About the big tech companies, Barr said:
“I don’t think big is necessarily bad, but I think a lot of people wonder [how] these big behemoths have taken shape in Silicon Valley.”
Conservatives have complained for a while now that Google has suppressed conservative websites and viewpoints in search results. In 2018, President Donald Trump complained that a search for “Trump News” only returned negative results. He tweeted at the time:
“Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good.”
Similar claims have been made against Facebook and Twitter, especially as it pertains to censorship, removal and labeling of posts. The companies have taken this stance with many conservative voices, including the president’s.
Facebook even appointed a panel of people to make decisions on what should and what shouldn’t be censored on the site. The problem with that is Facebook appointed mostly liberal voices to that panel.
Jose Castaneda, a spokesman for Google, told the Times the company would “continue to engage with ongoing investigations.” He, nor anyone else at Google or Alphabet, would comment on the investigation any further.
The DOJ also did not respond to requests for comment regarding the investigation or possible further action.
The case against Google has the potential to be one of the biggest antitrust cases in American history, rivaling that of the breakup of Standard Oil. Alphabet basically owns the internet through Google search, YouTube, Google Maps and tons of advertising products.
It’s hard for a consumer to not interact with a division of Alphabet when they see an ad online, hail a ride, order delivery through an app, watch a video or conduct an online search. That’s what’s particularly concerning to the DOJ, as it doesn’t leave consumers with much choice — and gives Alphabet loads of power in the online world.