Attorney general calls for breakup of top tech companies

- Some of the biggest tech companies based in the Bay Area are facing more political pressure.

According to a recent interview, Louisiana’s attorney general would like to see Facebook, Google and Twitter broken up.

The Advocate reports Attorney General Jeff Landry says he and other state attorneys general have been looking into anti-competitive practices of the social media giants, citing complaints the companies routinely freeze out conservative viewpoints.

"This can't be fixed legislatively,” Landry told the newspaper. “We need to go to court with an antitrust suit."

This comes ahead of a meeting U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has called for about two dozen attorneys general in Washington D.C. next week. The complaint also comes less than a month after President Trump tweeted he would address what he called "rigged' search results on Google that suppress the voices of conservatives.

"There's a lot of tech-bashing taking place across the county and a lot of that is based on fear about the internet companies’ powers," said Santa Clara University Law Professor Eric Goldman.

Goldman says Google and Facebook do have a sizable footprint and he understands why some would be concerned about traditional antitrust metrics. But Goldman says concerns about a monopoly are not at the heart of this recent complaint.

"That's not what's going on here. This is not really about size of Google or Facebook. This is about the fact that regulators want to tell how to manage their user database," said Goldman.

Longtime antitrust attorney Joe Cotchett is currently suing Google and Facebook for violation of federal privacy laws.

Cotchett calls the Louisiana attorney general's complaint "absolutely politically motivated".

“I think it's preposterous. I think there is violations of laws but not the monopolistic theory of whose political thought should be excluded," said Cotchett.

KTVU reached out to the three companies involved. Facebook and Twitter said they are not commenting. Google did not reply, but has previously said it does not set a political agenda or bias its search results.
 

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