It became known that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has launched a new investigation that will examine the privacy policies of some of the largest technology companies and social media platforms. According to reports, the investigation will affect Amazon, ByteDance (parent company of TikTok), Discord, Facebook, Reddit, Snap, Twitter, WhatsApp and YouTube.
The FTC announced that requests for data on how these platforms collect and use user information have been sent to companies and they have 45 days to provide the department with the relevant documents.
The source notes that the study of the companies is carried out as part of a large-scale investigation and is not the result of any specific accusations against tech giants and social media platforms. However, if illegal behavior is detected during an investigation, the FTC may apply enforcement action against violators to oblige them to provide information of interest to the agency. It is also known that companies must provide the FTC with detailed information, including how personal data is collected and determined, what content is shown to users based on this data, and whether any algorithms or other methods are used to analyze personal data.
“These digital products may have been launched with a simple goal of bringing people together or fostering their creativity. But over the decades since then, the industry model has shifted from supporting user activities to monetizing. This shift has been driven by an increasingly frequent industry invasion of our privacy.“- said in a statement by the FTC commissioners who initiated a new investigation.
It’s worth noting that in February of this year, the FTC similarly requested data on past acquisitions of major tech companies including Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft. Last week, the FTC filed a lawsuit on Facebook that could result in a mandatory sale of Instagram and the WhatsApp messenger.
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