The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued orders to nine social media and video platforms, inquiring about their data practices.
Big Tech is under more scrutiny than ever before, and privacy is a big focal point. Data breaches and mishandling of consumer data in recent years has resulted in individuals and officials being more privacy-conscious. As a result, there have been some instances of groundbreaking legislations, such as the EU’s GDPR and California’s CCPA/CPRA.
It appears the FTC is increasing its own scrutiny of companies’ data practices, with an order 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 FTC is specifically looking to understand how these platforms “collect, use, track, estimate, or derive personal and demographic information.” In addition, the FTC wants to know how these platforms determine which ads and content are shown to users, how they handle user engagement and how children and teens are impacted.
Some companies, such as Apple, Microsoft and Mozilla, have taken strong stands on privacy. The platforms covered by the FTC’s order, however, have based much of their business on collecting user information. In many cases, there has been a lack of transparency about what data is collected and how it is used.
Hopefully the FTC’s inquiry is the first step toward stronger data protections for consumers.