Social Media Corporations Must Reveal Their Impact On Users Within 45 Days
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has initiated extensive research on social media, including Facebook, TikTok, ByteDance, YouTube, Twitter, Snap, Discord, Amazon and WhatsApp.
The offices of the Internet giants were requested to provide various data about users, including how they collect personal data; how they determine what ads are shown to consumers; whether algorithms or other analytics are applied to personal information; how they measure user engagement; and how their practices impact children and teenagers, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
According to official information, this study has no law enforcement overtones, says Section 6 (b) of the FTC Act. But, the collected data can serve as a powerful argument in the investigation of threats to national security, influence on elections and misuse of users' confidential information.
The Commission voted 4-1 to start collecting data.
"The Commission’s 6(b) study will lift the hood on the social media and video streaming firms to carefully study their engines," said FTC commissioners Rebecca Slaughter, Christine Wilson and Rohit Chopra, in a statement. "Policymakers and the public are in the dark about what social media and video streaming services do to capture and sell users’ data and attention. It is alarming that we still know so little about companies that know so much about us."
The FTC investigation comes in the midst of allegations against Facebook, with 46 state attorneys general serving as plaintiffs.
Image: Lorraine Harrison / Flickr