Josh Hawley, Missouri’s Attorney General, reportedly initiated an investigation into whether or not Google violated Missouri consumer protection or antitrust laws.
In a press release, it seems that the Missouri Attorney General’s office is looking at data collection, “misappropriation” of third-party content and promotion of “websites owned by Google” to the detriment of third-party competitors:
The business practices in question are Google’s collection, use, and disclosure of information about Google users and their online activities; Google’s alleged misappropriation of online content from the websites of its competitors; and Google’s alleged manipulation of search results to preference websites owned by Google and to demote websites that compete with Google.
Hawley is not the only Attorney general looking at Google and antitrust issues. Back in January of 2016, Attorneys General from Utah and Washington, DC, urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to reopen an antitrust investigation against Google on whether or not the company was unfairly promoting its own content in search results. This issue is what triggered the record $2.7 billion fine in Europe in June of this year.
In 2013, Google had settled with the FTC, and at the time, the FTC said that there was insufficient evidence under the law to support any kind of complaint against Google on the grounds of “search bias.”
Currently, Google is appealing the European Commission decision. In Europe there are two other antitrust cases pending against Google, which are focused on Google Play and AdSense. These cases could equally result in large fines if they manage to go through.