The Indiana Attorney General’s office is among the 47 nationwide that have joined a multistate antitrust investigation into Facebook, focusing on the social media giant’s dominance in the industry and the potential for anticompetitive conduct.
Led by the New York Attorney General, the investigation was launched in September by attorneys general from eight states and the District of Columbia. The effort has since gained bipartisan support with 21 Democratic attorneys general, 18 Republicans and one independent, along with Guam, all signing on, according to the Associated Press.
New York Attorney General Letitia James said the investigation was examining whether Facebook has stifled competition and put users at risk. “We will use every investigative tool at our disposal to determine whether Facebook’s actions may have endangered consumer data, reduced the quality of consumers’ choices, or increased the price of advertising,” James said in a press release announcing the investigation.
The Indiana Attorney General’s office was unable to offer specific information on what its role or duties, if any, would be in this investigation. However, the office did provide a list of the publicly disclosable complaints it has received against Facebook.
Since February 2011, the Indiana Attorney General has received 21 complaints against Facebook.
The most common complaints were for harassment and unauthorized bank debit with three filed for each. Other problems included identity theft, unsatisfactory performance, a billing dispute, and refusing to cancel a contract.
A majority of the complaints — nine — were settled while in another four, the alleged offender did not respond. Three complaints were referred to another agency and one was found to have no basis.
“Just like individual citizens, corporations must be held accountable for following the law,” Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill said in a statement. “And just like individual citizens, corporations also enjoy the presumption of innocence until facts prove otherwise. In this case, we must follow the facts to determine whether Facebook has engaged in anti-competitive behavior in violation of state and federal antitrust laws.”