Federal regulators are ordering Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, TikTok’s parent and five other social media companies to provide detailed information on how they collect and use consumers’ personal data and how their practices affect children and teens.
The Federal Trade Commission’s action announced Monday goes to the heart of the tech industry’s lucrative business model: harvesting data from platform users and making it available to online advertisers so they can pinpoint specific consumers to target.
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FTC Issues Orders to Nine Social Media and Video Streaming Services Seeking Data About How They Collect, Use, and Present Information [news release]
The Federal Trade Commission is issuing orders to nine social media and video streaming companies, requiring them to provide data on how they collect, use, and present personal information, their advertising and user engagement practices, and how their practices affect children and teens.
The FTC is issuing the orders under Section 6(b) of the FTC Act, which authorizes the Commission to conduct wide-ranging studies that do not have a specific law enforcement purpose. The orders are being sent to Amazon.com, Inc., ByteDance Ltd., which operates the short video service TikTok, Discord Inc., Facebook, Inc., Reddit, Inc., Snap Inc., Twitter, Inc., WhatsApp Inc., and YouTube LLC. The companies will have 45 days from the date they received the order to respond.
The FTC is seeking information specifically related to:
- how social media and video streaming services collect, use, track, estimate, or derive personal and demographic information;
- how they determine which ads and other content are shown to consumers;
- whether they apply algorithms or data analytics to personal information;
- how they measure, promote, and research user engagement; and
- how their practices affect children and teens.
The Commission voted 4-1 to issue the 6(b) orders to the nine social media and video service companies. Commissioner Noah Joshua Phillips voted no and issued a dissenting statement. Commissioners Rohit Chopra, Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, and Christine S. Wilson issued a statement on the matter.
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