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Google hit with huge US antitrust probe

(Image credit: Image Credit: Asif Islam / Shutterstock)

Google is set to face a major investigation from the US government concerning possible monopoly abuse in the advertising industry.

According to Reuters, attorneys general from 48 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are joining forces to investigate if Google is playing fair in the advertising industry. California and Alabama will be sitting this one out.

Leading the probe is Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who said the focus of the investigation will be the company’s “overarching control of online advertising markets and search traffic that may have led to anticompetitive behaviour that harms consumers.”

The 48 states have asked Google, earlier this week, to share documents on how it runs its advertising operations. Paxton calls this part of the investigation as “preliminary” and expects it to expand into other segments, such as data privacy, as well.

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said the probe was “for the benefit of the tech ecosystem to help level the playing field.”

This is not the first time Google has faced various governments around the world, under accusations of monopoly abuse. Last summer, the company was fined $5 billion by the European Union, for illegally tying its mobile browser Chrome, as well as its search app, to the Android operating system.

The company was also fined by the French government for failing to provide users with transparent and understandable information on its data use policies.