Are Google, Amazon, and Facebook stifling competition across the digital world? While many have strong opinions on this heated question, it looks like the discourse has finally warmed up enough for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to step in and uncover some answers of its own.
In a recap of a review filed early this week on the 23rd July, Brent Kendall of The Wall Street Journal reports that the DOJ intends to investigate the likes of Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple to better understand the practices that allow these organizations to dominate internet search, social media, retail services, and many other facets of the modern web.
Additionally, DOJ antitrust chief Makan Delrahim added some extra context to this inquiry by pointing out that failing to promote "meaningful market-based competition" allows the largest names in tech to "act in ways that are not responsive to consumer demands." In other words, it definitely sounds like the antitrust team over at 950 Pennsylvania Ave. has some serious concerns related to how Google and other online frontrunners could be abusing their near monopolistic power in the digital sector.
If this sounds somewhat familiar, it should. Earlier this month, the House Antitrust Subcommittee held a similar hearing focused on bringing practices that stifle competition in the online landscape to light. In the wake of this hearing (as noted in the series of tweets embedded below from industry expert and head of SparkToro, Rand Fishkin), some members of the committee weren't satisfied with the vague responses and non-answers offered up by representatives from Google, Amazon, and Facebook, leading to a second round of pointed questioning directly from the Subcommittee Chairman, Representative David Cicilline of New York.
If you saw last week's congressional questions to Google (and FB+Amzn), you know how disappointing their representative, Adam Cohen's, responses were.— Rand Fishkin (@randfish) July 23, 2019
That's why its so great to see @davidcicilline holding Google's feet to the fire 🔥🔥🔥
(PDF source: https://t.co/hp6EHGvtIm) pic.twitter.com/iDUQI8VuCn
Has Google leveraged unacceptable practices to stifle competition in the search engine world? Will pressure from the DOJ and the House of Representatives rebuff Google and force the tech titan to change its ways, thereby influencing how your dealership optimizes its online presence and digital domain to retain its spot at the top of the organic rankings?
Naturally, only time will tell. However, one thing is clear: If Google is leveraging underhanded tactics to freeze out the competition, it appears that regulators in Washington are serious about bringing this practice to an end in a hurry.