Google’s dominance in online search may be the subject of investigation, as Senator Orrin Hatch has called on the FTC to look into Google’s practices.
In a letter to FTC Chairman Joseph Simons, Hatch expresses concern around Google stifling competition and collecting vast amounts of user data.
An FTC spokesperson addressed Hatch’s concerns in a statement to The Hill:
“We take all correspondence from members of Congress very seriously. However, we have no comment beyond that.”
Google has reportedly declined to comment on the matter at all.
The FTC previously investigated Google’s search practices in 2013. The investigation was closed without a fine being issued.
Senator Hatch asked the FTC to revisit its decision while citing the two antitrust fines recently issued to Google by the European Union.
This is the latest high-profile Republican critic calling for Google to be investigated.
Google’s search practices were called into question earlier this week when President Trump claimed the search engine is “rigged” to display only bad news about him.
Trump also claimed this week that Google did not promote his State of the Union address on its homepage, despite doing so for other Presidents. That claim has been proven false.
Regardless, not even the President of the United States has enough power to force Google into regulating the content shown in search results. Google’s search results are protected under First Amendment rights.
While Trump’s threats to regulate Google arguably hold no water, the antitrust investigation being called for by Senator Hatch is not out of the question.
Time will tell if the FTC decides to re-open an investigation that was closed 5 years ago.
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