Amazon will reportedly fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission following an agreement between the FTC and the Department of Justice, reports The Washington Post. The move could bring increased scrutiny for the retail giant, just after the DOJ is reportedly preparing its own case against Google.
The Post says that it’s not immediately clear what plans the FTC has for Amazon, but notes that this “kind of arrangement brokered between the Justice Department and the FTC typically presages more serious antitrust scrutiny.” While the Post didn’t get comments from Amazon, the DOJ or FTC regarding the news, it spoke with former FTC chair Maureen Ohlhausen, who said that if such discussions are underway, “that would indicate there’s a reason for that discussion, whether it’s a new interest, study, or investigation.”
The news comes after reports broke on Friday evening that the DOJ is preparing an antitrust investigation into Google’s search business. Those reports noted that the FTC launched its own investigations against Google in 2011 (resulting in a civil penalty) and in 2013 (which was closed, and would take a back seat to the Justice Department this time around.
Calls for more scrutiny over the business practices of the country’s major tech companies has been steadily growing in the last year — European regulators and prominent Democratic presidential candidates have made the case to break up companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, citing their vast influence in the marketplace and their business practices. In February, the FTC launched a new task force designed to investigate anti-competitive behavior amongst the tech giants within the US technology sector, while it’s also and has reportedly been looking to level a multi-billion dollar fine against Facebook for its privacy practices.