Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joe Simons told the Hill Wednesday (Oct. 3) that protecting consumers from the potential anticompetitive behavior from dominant online platforms was a priority for the commission.
Simons said that for antitrust enforcers, the best place to look is where there is likely to be significant potential market power. "That would describe some of these big tech platforms we are all talking about.”
He would not comment on any specific investigation, but said it was "a priority for us."
There has been criticism of the FTC over the difference between Europe's treatment of Google, which has levied hefty fines, and the FTC, which has not levied hefty fines.
Simons said the FTC was working with the European Union "on these issues."
Simons also pointed out later in the hearing that among the ways the FTC will launch an investigation into a company is via referrals from foreign competition authorities.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) had sent a letter to Simons about potentially anticompetitive conduct by Google. Hatch asked, since Simons can't disclose whether the FTC is indeed investigating such conduct, how the FTC decides to launch an investigation.
He said that could be from the FTC staff, or the Hill, or from consumers or consumer groups, or competitors, or those foreign authorities.