FTC asks Amazon, Facebook, YouTube, and others to share how they track and use personal data

Amazon logo on a wall
Amazon logo on a wall (Image credit: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • The FTC has ordered nine tech companies to provide information about their data practices.
  • The orders are being sent to Amazon, ByteDance, Discord, Facebook, Snap, Twitter, WhatsApp, Reddit, and YouTube.
  • The companies will have to respond to the FTC within 45 days of receiving the order.

The Federal Trade Commission has sent orders to nine popular tech companies, requiring them to provide information on how they collect, use, and present data from their users. The orders have been issued under Section 6(b) of the FTC Act, which authorizes the agency to "conduct wide-ranging studies that do not have a specific law enforcement purpose."

The FTC wants to know how the companies determine which ads are shown to consumers and whether they apply algorithms or data analytics to personal information. It is also seeking information related to how their practices affect children and teenagers.

The nine companies that have been ordered to share information about their data practices by the FTC include Amazon, Facebook, WhatsApp, Reddit, Twitter, Snap, YouTube, and TikTok parent company ByteDance. As per a press release by the agency, the companies will have 45 days to respond to the order.

When asked for comment, a Twitter spokesperson told CNBC:

We're working, as we always do, to ensure the FTC has the information it needs to understand how Twitter operates its services.

A Discord spokesperson said in a statement:

Discord takes user privacy very seriously and we look forward to working with the FTC to answer their questions about our privacy practices. Importantly, there are no ads on Discord. We make no money from advertising, selling user data to advertisers, or sharing users' personal information with others. Instead, the company generates its revenue directly from users through a paid subscription service called Nitro.

The Federal Trade Commission's new move comes just a week after it filed a lawsuit against Facebook over anticompetitive behavior. The agency plans to seek a permanent injunction that could force Facebook to divest Instagram and WhatsApp.

Facebook facing antitrust investigation surrounding Oculus headsets and Facebook accounts

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Babu Mohan
News Writer