Louisiana Republican Attorney General (AG) Jeff Landry said during a press conference Monday that Google serves as an “existential threat” to the digital marketplace due to its dominance in the digital advertising and search markets.
Landry added that Google could kill online free speech as well as online publishing.
Louisiana Attorney General Landry joined 49 other attorneys general Monday to announce an antitrust investigation into Google. The antitrust investigation will focus on Google’s dominance in the search and advertising markets, including whether they stifled competition.
California and Alabama have yet to join the other state attorneys general in their antitrust investigation.
Landry said during his opening statement, “We’re here because there’s an absolutely existential threat to our virtual marketplace.”
The Internet was once a revolutionizing home for ideas, debate, and content – a place that could benefit countless Louisiana consumers and businesses. However, Google’s dominance of online advertising and searching may have undermined the free market, harmed consumers, and stifled the free flow of thought and information.
The Louisiana attorney general asked rhetorically:
Would we have allowed one person or one company to own all of the printing ink, the printing press, and the paper used to print paper? The answer to that is, absolutely not. Somewhere along the line, if someone had tried to monopolize that entire industry, our government would have disallowed it, it would have disallowed the mergers, or they would have broken them up. Digital advertising in our virtual marketplace is supposed to enjoy the same free-market principles as other commodities, it is supposed to be a supply and demand based.
Utah General Sean Reyes also questioned during the press conference Monday whether Google has “strayed” from its “founding principles” to not “do evil.”
“Unfortunately, it means that Google’s dominance will allow them to pick winners and losers in this exchange. Continuing down this road will kill online publishing, or Google will say who stays and who goes,” Landry added.
The Louisiana attorney general asked rhetorically, “How’s that for the fulfillment for the Internet promise for open places, ideas, debate, and content?”
“The Internet was ‘revolutionary’ because it enhanced and expanded human contact. A place for ideas and conversations to take place, it enhanced the exchange of ideas, and the freedom to efficiently publish that content,” Landry said. “If we don’t act now, that dream will die.”
“That’s what this investigation is about,” AG Landry added.