Ohio legislative hearings to probe Google, Facebook anti-trust concerns

Cleveland.com | Jeremy Pelzer

Days after Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost launched anti-trust investigations into Facebook and Google, state lawmakers announced their own plans to scrutinize the power and size of big tech firms.

The Ohio Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled hearings next month in Cleveland and Cincinnati to look at anti-trust concerns with large technology firms, Senate leaders announced at a Statehouse news conference Wednesday.

“I think anybody who’s objectively looking at the facts could say, ‘Well, I’ve got some questions there. I’d kind of like to try to get some answers,’” said Senate President Larry Obhof, a Medina Republican.

While it’s too soon to say what action – if any – state lawmakers might take to rein in these companies, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair John Eklund noted that Ohio’s anti-trust law hasn’t been substantially updated in a “very, very long time.”

However, Eklund, a Geauga County Republican, added that state lawmakers must be mindful not to violate the U.S. Constitution, which gives the federal government the sole power to regulate interstate commerce.

Yost, who also spoke at the news conference, said Ohioans should pay attention to what firms like Google and Facebook are doing.

“Google knows your search-engine interests going back many, many years. Facebook knows your interests going back many, many years. They’re selling that,” Yost said. “Why do they get to have that forever just because you signed up to use their platform?”

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