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Facebook Investigation Widens

The investigation by states into Facebook has "vastly expanded," according to one of the attorneys general leading that effort, New York's Letitia James.

"Our investigation now has the support of 47 attorneys general from around the nation, who are all concerned that Facebook may have put consumer data at risk, reduced the quality of consumers’ choices, and increased the price of advertising," James said in providing an update Tuesday (Oct. 22). “After continued bipartisan conversations with attorneys general from around the country, today I am announcing that we have vastly expanded the list of states, districts, and territories investigating Facebook for potential antitrust violations."

Related: Zuckerberg Returning to Hill Oct. 23

The leadership team of the investigation comprises AGs from New York, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia.

“Big tech and social media companies like Facebook must comply with anti-trust laws that promote competition and choice, and consumer protection laws that guard the privacy and personal data of users," said Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. "Given Facebook’s nearly unprecedented influence in so many sectors of the economy and political process, this bipartisan coalition of attorneys general is committed to ensuring that Facebook is complying with the law and meeting its obligations.”

Related: Hill Calls for Social Media Standards

The announcement came the same day that a trio of senators introduced a bill that would require Facebook and other large social media platforms to allow users to designate a trusted third party to manage their data use and sharing.

Both the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission are currently looking at whether Facebook and other Web giants got that way by buying up to monopoly and how/whether their size and control of data raises antitrust issues that need addressing.