FTC points privateness directions to 9 social media and streaming video service corporations

On December 14, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it has hired nine social media and video streaming companies to request information about how the companies collect, use, and present personal information, how they present themselves to advertisers and users and how their practices affect children and young people. The orders will assist the FTC in conducting a study of these policies, practices, and procedures. The FTC issued the orders under Section 6 (b) of the FTC Act, which allows the Agency to conduct extensive studies independently of its law enforcement activities.

According to a statement from FTC Commissioners Chopra, Slaughter and Wilson, the FTC is engaged in increased surveillance of people and monetization of consumer data, and the orders are aimed at “putting the hood of social media and video streaming companies.” open them to carefully examine their engines. “The FTC is particularly interested to learn how these companies draw conclusions about their users, how children and families are addressed and categorized, and whether consumers are subjected to ‘social engineering experiments’.

The orders are extremely detailed and contain nearly 50 content requests for a wide range of information including:

  • how social media and video streaming services collect, use, track, estimate, or infer personal and demographic information;
  • how they determine which advertisements and other content are shown to consumers;
  • how they apply algorithms or data analysis to personal information;
  • how they collect, infer or otherwise process demographic information about users;
  • how they measure, promote, and research user engagement;
  • how they compete to attract, attract, and retain users and increase user engagement; and
  • how their practices affect children and adolescents.

Companies have 45 days to respond to orders.

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