Executive order drafted directing agencies to investigate Facebook, Google: Report

September 22, 2018

President Trump’s administration has drafted an executive order directing federal authorities to investigate the business practices of major internet companies, paving the way for potential antitrust probes into firms including Facebook and Google, Bloomberg News reported Saturday.

The White House is in the preliminary stages of preparing an executive order for Mr. Trump to sign instructing federal anti-trust and law enforcement agencies to probe Silicon Valley for potential violations, the report said.

A draft version obtained by Bloomberg directs authorities to “thoroughly investigate whether any online platform has acted in violation of the antitrust laws,” the report said.

“Because of their critical role in American society, it is essential that American citizens are protected from anticompetitive acts by dominant online platforms,” the order says, according to Bloomberg.

The order is in its early stages and has not been cleared by any other government agencies, the report added, citing an unnamed White House official.

The draft version does not identify any companies by name, Bloomberg reported, but it comes on the heels of Mr. Trump and other Republicans recently accusing some of the nation’s largest of allegedly censoring conservative content.

“Social Media is totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices. Speaking loudly and clearly for the Trump Administration, we won’t let that happen. They are closing down the opinions of many people on the RIGHT, while at the same time doing nothing to others,” Mr. Trump tweeted Aug. 18.

“Google others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!” he tweeted Aug. 28.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, Utah Republican, echoed the president’s concerns in a letter last month asking the Federal Trade Commission to “consider the competitive effects of Google’s conduct.”

Update hourly