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New AG in Missouri Continuing Facebook, Google Probes

Josh Hawley’s legacy as Missouri’s tech-skeptic attorney general appears to be secure. His successor in the role, Eric Schmitt, is continuing investigations into Google and Facebook that Mr. Hawley launched before he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2018, a spokesman for Mr. Schmitt confirmed. Mr. Schmitt himself has not publicly discussed the probes, but by continuing them, he’s showing that Missouri is still serious about investigating tech giants.

Mr. Hawley, whose vocal disdain for tech companies has persisted since he arrived in the Senate, had opened investigations into Google in 2017, and Facebook in 2018. Today, he published an op-ed in USA Today saying social media companies contribute to an “addiction economy,” and that people would be better off if tech platforms “disappeared.”

A number of other states, including Arizona, Mississippi and Utah have talked about investigating tech companies over potential antitrust and privacy issues, or even breaking up the companies. 

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