The Latest: Tech firms have little to say on antitrust probe

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on U.S. regulation of technology companies (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

Major tech companies facing congressional antitrust scrutiny have no comment on the Justice Department’s just announced probe.

The department says it is opening sweeping antitrust investigation of Big Tech and whether the online platforms have hurt competition, suppressed innovation or otherwise harmed consumers. It did not name any specific companies in its announcement.

Amazon had no comment. Facebook also did not have an immediate comment.

Google directed requests for comments to the testimony its director of economic policy, Adam Cohen, made to the House Judiciary Committee last week. Cohen reiterated the company’s benefits to consumers.

Apple referred to comments from CEO Tim Cook, who told CBS last month he doesn’t think “anybody reasonable” would call Apple a monopoly.

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5:15 p.m.

The U.S. Justice Department says it is opening a sweeping antitrust investigation of big technology companies and whether their online platforms have hurt competition, suppressed innovation or otherwise harmed consumers.

It comes as a growing number of lawmakers have called for stricter regulation or even breaking up of the big tech companies, which have come under intense scrutiny following a series of scandals that compromised users’ privacy. President Donald Trump also has relentlessly criticized the big tech companies by name in recent months.

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4:50 p.m.

The Washington Post is reporting that the Federal Trade Commission will allege that Facebook misled users about its privacy practices as part of an expected settlement.

The federal business watchdog will reportedly find that Facebook deceived users about how it handled phone numbers it asked for as part of a security feature and provided insufficient information about how to turn off a facial recognition tool for photos.

Advertisers were reportedly able to target users who provided their phone number as part of a two-factor authentication security feature.

The FTC didn’t respond immediately to a request for comment. Facebook had no comment.

The complaints will reportedly be detailed in a settlement on Wednesday. Facebook won’t be required to admit guilt but will have to submit to federal oversight, the newspaper reported.

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