The Department of Justice’s Anti-Trust division will investigate the business practices of some of the US’ biggest online players

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that it will launch an investigation to ascertain whether the world’s biggest tech giants have been unfairly suppressing competition.

“Without the discipline of meaningful market-based competition, digital platforms may act in ways that are not responsive to consumer demands,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Antitrust Division. “The Department’s antitrust review will explore these important issues.”

In a statement to the press, the DoJ said that the investigation would "look into how [online] platforms have achieved their market power, and whether they are engaging in practices that have reduced competition, stifled innovation or otherwise harmed consumers".

The Department of Justice’s investigation will be headed up by US Attorney General William Barr and will wield significant power.

Facebook has recently been slapped with a $5 billion fine for the way it mishandled its customers data, as part of the Cambridge Analytica scandal last year. The fine was seen as a signal of intent, as the DoJ looks to sharpen its focus on the business practices of the world’s biggest web giants.