The Federal Trade Commission is investigating whether networks like Facebook, Google, Twitter and YouTube have illegally colluded to promote their products, according to people familiar with the matter.
The FTC said Monday it will file its final complaint against each of those networks in the coming weeks, and it will be accompanied by an internal investigation.
Facebook and Google are accused of colluding to sell ads to each other without consumers’ knowledge or consent.
The networks are accused by consumers of artificially inflating the number of clicks on their products and then charging advertisers for clicks, and of paying publishers to run ads on their sites without disclosing their source.
Facebook said in a statement that it “does not tolerate the sale of our users’ personal information without their consent, and we take all of our obligations to comply with the law very seriously.”
Google said it “has a zero tolerance policy toward illegal behavior on its platforms, including the sharing of personal information.”
Twitter said it will investigate and remove any violations of our policies.
“Facebook and Twitter declined to comment.
The FTC said it was not authorized to comment on the matter because the matter is before the courts.
Last month, the agency issued a statement accusing Google of violating federal antitrust laws with its $1 billion purchase of the news publisher Vox Media in 2015.
The agreement, which required Google to pay Vox a $5.9 billion price for its business, came just months after Facebook purchased Buzzfeed for $1.2 billion.
Facebook also paid $2.8 billion to buy Instagram in 2014.