AG Hood Joins Investigation into Facebook Over Data, Competition Concerns


Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood is joining other attorneys general across the country in an investigation of Facebook, he announced on Tuesday. The bipartisan coalition, which includes 47 state attorneys general, is looking into whether "Facebook may have put consumer data at risk, reduced the quality of consumers' choices, and increased the price of advertising," New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, said in a press statement yesterday.

"Over the past year, I have raised concerns of potential barriers to competition and decreases in the quality of service when consumer data is concentrated in the hands of only a few," Hood said. "In this investigation, we will determine whether Facebook has restrained trade, thereby reducing the quality of consumers' choices or increasing the price of advertising."

Hood is the Democratic nominee for Mississippi governor in next month's election.

In a statement to CNN Business, Facebook vowed to "work constructively with state attorneys general." Facebook, the largest social media network in the world, also owns WhatsApp and Instagram—respectively the third and sixth largest social media platforms worldwide, Buffer estimated last year. WhatsApp has 1.5 billion monthly active users; Instagram has 1.3 billion; and Facebook boasts 2.23 billion.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, a Republican, is among those joining the investigation.

"Big Tech must account for its actions," Landry said in James' press statement. "I am proud to join my Republican and Democrat colleagues in efforts to ensure tech giants can no longer hide behind complexity and complicity."

Earlier this month, Fortune reported that Facebook had reached a $40 million settlement over separate allegations that it, at times, drastically inflated view counts on videos to make its video platform appear more popular than it really was. In July, the Federal Trade Commission hit Facebook with a $5 billion fine over consumer privacy issues.

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