Federal antitrust regulators, seeking to stamp out what they say is Google’s dominance of web search and advertising, sued the company on Friday in an effort to force it to make sweeping changes to how it does business.
In a sweeping complaint, federal antitrust officials charged that Google had violated two sections of the Sherman Antitrust Act, which prohibits companies from restricting competitors’ access to their content.
Calling it the first time that the act had been used to challenge a digital monopoly, U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions said the federal lawsuit was “needed in this digital era.”
“The use of algorithms, and the algorithms’ ability to game the results, lead to the increasing risk of us leaving behind a technological blindspot which does not allow us to benefit from advances made in our digital economy,” Mr. Sessions said.
Mr. Sessions said the government was taking a hard-line approach toward monopolists that was long overdue.
It was the latest of a series of bold moves by the Trump administration to regulate private businesses. Mr. Sessions’ senior counselor, Lanny Breuer, led a federal investigation into pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson and, in February, the FTC brought a complaint against Airbnb in an effort to prevent the online startup from continuing to operate while it evaluated whether to strike a settlement.