FILE - OH Dave Yost 4-22-2019

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is joining a bipartisan investigation with other state attorneys general into whether Facebook has stifled potential competition in violation of antitrust laws.

Yost has expressed concerns about online media platforms potentially violating antitrust legislation in the past.

“Attorney General Yost has made his concerns with big data public and today we can confirm that we will be joining this multistate investigation,” Dave O’Neil, the senior public information officer for Yost, told The Center Square via email.

The announcement was first made by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

“Even the largest social media platform in the world must follow the law and respect consumers,” James said. “I am proud to be leading a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general in investigating whether Facebook has stifled competition and put users at risk. We will use every investigative tool at our disposal to determine whether Facebook’s actions may have endangered consumer data, reduced the quality of consumers’ choices, or increased the price of advertising.”

The other states that have gotten involved in the investigation are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Tennessee and the District of Columbia.

In a statement, Will Castleberry, Facebook’s vice president of state and local policy, said that the company would work with the attorneys general on their concerns.

"People have multiple choices for every one of the services we provide,” Castleberry said. “We understand that if we stop innovating, people can easily leave our platform. This underscores the competition we face, not only in the US but around the globe. We will work constructively with state attorneys general and we welcome a conversation with policymakers about the competitive environment in which we operate.”

Two months ago, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it was launching an investigation into whether online platforms are trying to stifle competition and innovation or engaging in practices that harm consumers. That probe also includes other platforms, such as Google and Apple.

Staff Writer

Tyler Arnold reports on Virginia and Ohio for The Center Square. He previously worked for the Cause of Action Institute and has been published in Business Insider, USA TODAY College, National Review Online and the Washington Free Beacon.