On Monday, December 14, the Federal Trade Commission announced an investigation into Facebook and nine technology companies — Whatsapp, twitter, Google, YouTube, byte jumping, Amazon, Reddit, Snap, Discord — and demanded information about how they collect and use their users’ data.
, according to a statement from the FTC relevant investigation in addition to the company in the collection and use of user privacy data on whether there are irregularities, also require companies to provide them the way how to determine the user display the contents of advertisements, whether the use of personal information algorithm or data analysis, and how their data policy affects children and adolescents report. The companies have 45 days to respond to requests from the date they receive them.
The inquiries do not serve a specific enforcement purpose, but the FTC can take enforcement action if it finds wrongdoing throughout its investigation.
Under its powers under Section 6 (b) of the FTC Act, the FTC can conduct extensive investigations independently of law enforcement agencies. Joe Simons, FTC chairman, has previously said that while the investigation is not related to clear enforcement decisions, it will provide a solid basis for future enforcement.
“The FTC wants to understand how business models affect what Americans hear and see, who they communicate with, and the information they share… The FTC wants to better understand the economic incentives for social media and video streaming services.”
Since the election controversy erupted in 2020, big tech companies, led by facebook, Google and its YouTube and twitter subsidiaries, have been criticized for cracking down on the spread of pro-trump rhetoric. In recent days, U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly condemned Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, known as the Social Media exemption umbrella act, and said he would refuse to sign it because it is part of the new National Defense Authorization Act to ensure that it does not continue to affect national security and electoral integrity.
On Monday, Trump appointed Nathan Simington, a hawkish nominee to the FEDERAL Communications Commission (FCC) in a move seen as signaling reform of the 230 law.
Last week, the FTC accused Facebook of illegally maintaining a monopoly on personal social networking services. The lawsuit was filed alongside a separate set of complaints from 48 states and territories alleging that Facebook has acquired emerging competitors such as Instagram and WhatsApp. Law enforcement officials say Facebook’s actions undermine the quality of service for consumers, including privacy-based features.
It launched a separate investigation earlier this year into past acquisitions by Google’s parent company, Alphabet, amazon, apple, facebook and Microsoft.