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Expand chart
Data: Axios research; Table: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

As investigations into tech giants' possible anti-competitive behavior multiply, authorities are beginning to tussle over turf — adding a new potential for discord to the regulatory chess game.

Why it matters: These probes are legally complex and historically difficult to pull off. There's bipartisan support right now for checking Big Tech's power, but the companies have enormous resources and remain popular, and fighting among regulators can only hamper their work.

Driving the news: Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joe Simons has written a letter to the Justice Department's antitrust division complaining about the DOJ's behavior in handling disagreements over which agency has the authority to probe Facebook, The Wall Street Journal reports.

  • Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) intends to bring up the letter and address the issue at a Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee hearing Tuesday, his office confirmed to Axios.

Be smart: Both agencies have clashed over who has jurisdiction to investigate, particularly Facebook.

  • Earlier this year the two agencies agreed that they would divide up investigations into the companies, with the DOJ taking on Alphabet (the parent company of Google) and Apple, and the FTC looking into Facebook and Amazon.
  • Tensions apparently rose in July when the DOJ announced another sweeping investigation into Big Tech platforms for their dominance, a move which reportedly had the FTC concerned that the DOJ would be stepping on its turf to investigate Facebook.

The big picture: A growing list of media investigations are presenting evidence of tech platforms abusing their dominance to promote their own products and services.

  • On Monday, the Journal reported that Amazon has changed its search function to more prominently feature products that are more profitable for the company. Amazon denies the report, saying it features products customers want, "regardless of whether they are our own brands or products offered by our selling partners."
  • Last week, a New York Times investigation revealed that Apple-owned apps often top rivals in its own App Store.
  • Friday, the House Judiciary Committee sent Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon lengthy document requests, including executives' private communications, for its own investigation into the companies' practices.

The bottom line: Multiple probes can help regulators cover the vast territory they have set out to explore. But any time and resources they spend fighting each other will only benefit the companies they are seeking to hold accountable.

Go deeper: The growing list of U.S. government inquiries into Big Tech

Editor's note: This story has been updated since publication.

Go deeper

Updated 21 mins ago - Health

California surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths

A man prepares a funeral arrangement in in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: It's the first state to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

2 hours ago - Technology

Facebook bans Myanmar military

A protester holds a placard with a three-finger salute in front of a military tank parked aside the street in front of the Central Bank building during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by Aung Kyaw Htet/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook said on Wednesday it would ban the rest of the Myanmar military from its platform.

The big picture: It comes some three weeks after the military overthrew the civilian government in a coup and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, causing massive protests to erupt throughout the country. Military leaders have been using internet blackouts to try to maintain power in light of the coup.

It's harder to fill the Cabinet

Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/Axios

It's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found.

Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one.