10. Regulatory Scrutiny Of Internet Giants On The Rise
In July Facebook agreed to pay a $5 billion penalty to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations that the social media giant mishandled user privacy practices and lost control over huge amounts of user data.
The record fine paid by Facebook is the most visible example of a growing wave of scrutiny and anticipated investigations of tech giants Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple in such areas as data privacy and antitrust actions.
In July the U.S. Justice Department said it is scrutinizing "leading online platforms" to determine whether they are abusing their dominant positions in the market—potentially taking aim at the four big companies. Earlier reports have said that the Justice Department is specifically looking at Apple and Google while the FTC is undertaking investigations of Facebook and Amazon.
All this comes on top of ongoing antitrust actions brought by the European Commission, the governing body of the European Union. In March the EC hit Google with a $1.69 billion fine for allegedly stifling competition in online advertising. And the EC just opened an investigation of Amazon for possible anti-competitive behavior relating to alleged use of data from independent retailers that use the Amazon marketplace.