Lawmakers Call For DOJ Investigation Into Google Search

If the top executives at Google thought the impeachment sham and the coronavirus would allow them to fly under the radar, they can think again.

In a rare move these days, Republicans and Democrats came together this week and officially called on the Department of Justice to take swift action.

Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley and Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal delivered a complaint to Attorney General Bill Barr asking the DOJ to look into possible antitrust violations by the search engine giant, Breitbart reports.

Their letter notes such a finding would not be the first time Google has been caught in such a scheme. The European Union previously fined Google $2.7 billion for manipulating search results.

A Federal Trade Commission investigation discovered Google had done the same thing in 2012.

“Google enjoys market dominance in online advertising, but it has that dominance in substantial part because of its enormous search engine market share,” the senators wrote in their complaint. “Google’s online advertising conduct is inextricably linked to Google’s search activities. It is critical to remember that the company’s primary function is supplying a search engine to users, producing billions of search results for Americans every week. Narrowing the investigation’s focus such that Google’s anticompetitive practices to dominate the online search market is not captured does a grave disservice to consumers.”

Hawley previously called for further government intervention into Facebook and Twitter and asked for the abolition of the notorious Section 230.

Now, in his letter to Barr, he’s making it clear that Google should be closely examined for possible anti-competition practices.

According to Breitbart, the senators wrote:

Anticompetitive conduct in search engines is especially pernicious because it can ensure permanent, illicit dominance. Because of Google’s market share, it receives far more data than other search engines—data that it can use to improve its algorithm.

Once a search engine obtains dominance through anticompetitive means, it may never be possible for other companies to build a truly competitive product absent antitrust enforcement.

[…] However, because Google’s advertising operations are in many ways downstream of its search operations, an investigation that focuses only on online advertisements risks failing to address the primary source of anticompetitive conduct.

“We urge the Department, in its antitrust investigation into Google, to consider comprehensively Google’s practices in the search market,” the senators concluded in their letter to Barr.

It is unlikely that a finding would occur before the election, but it’s good to see lawmakers coming together to address important issues arising from Silicon Valley.

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