The US consumer regulator forms task force to monitor large tech

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Federal Trade Commission, under pressure to better keep an eye on big tech companies such as Alphabet ‘ s of Google and Facebook, said on Tuesday it would create a task force to monitor the sector and for the investigation of anti-competitive behaviour.

FILE PHOTO: The Google logo is pictured at the entrance of the Google offices in London, Britain, 18 January 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

The FTC’s Bureau of Competition, will be approximately 17 staff lawyers on the task force, who will advise you on the area of tech-related merger reviews, investigations, and reviews of consumed tech deals.

“It is logical for us to carefully examine whether the technology markets to ensure that consumers have a free and fair competition,” FTC Chairman Joe Simons said in a statement.

The agency Bruce Hoffman, head of the Bureau of Competition, not to exclude in the undo action of a closed deal, if anti-competitive behaviour is found, but declined to discuss specific transactions.

Settlement of a deal after it is closed “very rare,” said Henry Su of the law firm Constantine Cannon llp.

Facebook, already under investigation by the FTC, is accused of violating a 2011 consent decree regarding privacy because the data of 87 million users to end up in the hands of Cambridge Analytica, great Britain, based on the political consulting firm hired by President Donald Trump is 2016 AMERICAN election campaign.

Facebook shares compared to modest gains after the FTC task force announcement, closing down about 0.3 percent to $164.13.

Interest groups, such as the Electronic Privacy Information Center, have urged the FTC to require Facebook in order to relax the purchase of Instagram, sharing photos, and WhatsApp, a private messaging app.

The App Association, which represents app makers, said he looked forward to the task force at work.

“A strong, competitive environment for small businesses to participate fully in this economy, with new opportunities at a rapid pace,” association president Morgan Reed said in a statement.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represents brick-and-mortar shops whose businesses are affected by online retailers, said creation of the task force will “bring needed scrutiny to the relatively few technology platforms that are becoming an increasing part of modern commerce.”

Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Susan Thomas

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