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House panel ask Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google to turn over internal records in antitrust probe

The House Judiciary Committee has asked Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple to hand over documents as they probe competition problems in digital markets, focusing on whether firms are engaging in anti-competitive conduct online and whether anti-trust laws need to be updates.

Letters addressed to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Alphabet CEO Larry Page, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Apple CEO Tim Cook were sent out Friday points out that ‘protection of trade and commerce against unlawful restraints and monopolies’ lies under the Committee’s jurisdiction in the House of Representatives, as they lay out a list of files to be turned in by October 14.

Signed by the Chairman Jerry Nadler and Ranking Member Doug Collins, as well as the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law’s Chairman David N. Cicilline and its Ranking Member James Sesenbrenner Jr, they have requested internal emails between top stakeholders related to their biggest competitors and companies they have acquired.

The House has requested internal emails between top stakeholders related to four companies - includingAmazon

The House has requested internal emails between top stakeholders related to four companies – including Apple and Amazon – their biggest competitors and companies they have acquired

House Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law Chairman David N. Cicilline (pictured) called it an ‘opportunity for tech giants to ensure that the Internet is an engine for opportunity for everyone, not just a select few’

Google has already been ordered to hand over documents related to the Department of Justice's investigation into competition in the technology industry

Facebook is also facing a separate investigation from attorneys general

Google has already been ordered to hand over documents related to the Department of Justice’s investigation into competition in the technology industry. Facebook is also facing a separate investigation from attorneys general

For Google’s parent company Alphabet that includes YouTube, while Facebook purchased Instagram, WhatsApp and the now-closed Vine.

In recent years Amazon has acquired the likes of Whole Foods and Ring, while in Apple’s letter their decision to permit Amazon to sell a limited number of iPhones is on the list of information requested as well as details pertaining to the ranking of their own apps in the App Store.

On Friday, Rhode Island Democrat Cicilline in a statement that their move marks an ‘important milestone in this investigation’.

Cicilline added: ‘We expect stakeholders to use this opportunity to provide information to the Committee to ensure that the Internet is an engine for opportunity for everyone, not just a select few gatekeepers.’

House lawmakers opened an investigation in June with Cicilline describing the internet as ‘broken’.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., right, confers with Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., left. hairman Jerry Nadler said there's 'evidence that a handful of corporations have come to capture an outsized share of online commerce and communications'

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., right, confers with Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., left. hairman Jerry Nadler said there’s ‘evidence that a handful of corporations have come to capture an outsized share of online commerce and communications’

Rep. Doug Collins, R-Georgia, left, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, greets Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wisc., right. Collins said Friday: 'This information is key in helping determine whether anticompetitive behavior is occurring'

Rep. Doug Collins, R-Georgia, left, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, greets Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wisc., right. Collins said Friday: ‘This information is key in helping determine whether anticompetitive behavior is occurring’

This letter addressed to Alphabet CEO Larry Page, sent out Friday, points out that 'protection of trade and commerce against unlawful restraints and monopolies' lies under the Committee's jurisdiction in the House of Representatives

This letter addressed to Alphabet CEO Larry Page, sent out Friday, points out that ‘protection of trade and commerce against unlawful restraints and monopolies’ lies under the Committee’s jurisdiction in the House of Representatives

In July Cicilline told officials from the four companies during a hearing that the internet had become ‘increasingly concentrated, less open, and growingly hostile to innovation and entrepreneurship’.

Friday’s announcement came days after it was announced Google’s search engine powers would be probed with the support of nearly every state’s attorney general.

While Friday’s documents request from the House is not a legal one, Google has already been ordered to hand over documents related to the Department of Justice’s investigation into competition in the technology industry.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Zuckerberg and others are asked to respond within a month by October 14

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and others are asked to respond within a month by October 14

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Bezos and others who received letters have a list of files to be turned in

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and others who received letters have a list of files to be turned in

Apple's CEO Tim Cook

Cook is addressed in one letter that continues asking for information regarding sales of iPhones and App store rankings

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is addressed in one letter that continues asking for information regarding sales of iPhones and App store rankings 

New York Democrat, Nadler stated Friday: ‘The open Internet has delivered enormous benefits to Americans, including a surge of economic opportunity, massive investment, and new pathways for education online. But there is growing evidence that a handful of corporations have come to capture an outsized share of online commerce and communications.’

Republican Collins said Friday: ‘This information is key in helping determine whether anticompetitive behavior is occurring, whether our antitrust enforcement agencies should investigate specific issues and whether or not our antitrust laws need improvement to better promote competition in the digital markets.’

Facebook is also facing a separate investigation from attorneys general and the Federal Trade Commission in Washington is looking at Zuckerberg’s acquisitions.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk