FTC orders social media to provide info on how they collect and use personal data


Angela Lang/CNET

The Federal Trade Commission has asked all major social media and video streaming platforms to provide information on how they deal with users’ personal data. The order was sent Monday to Facebook, WhatsApp, Snap, Twitter, Amazon, YouTube, TikTok owner ByteDance, Twitch, Reddit and Discord.

The FTC wants to know how the internet giants collect, use and track personal and demographic information, as well as how these policies affect minors. The companies have 45 days to respond to the order.

Read more: Americans don’t trust content decisions made by social media giants, study says

Specifically, the FTC wants to know how these companies choose which ads to serve their users, whether they use algorithms or data analytics with personal information, and how they measure and research user engagement.

Twitter is working “as we always do to ensure the FTC has the information it needs to understand how Twitter operates its services,” a spokesperson told CNET in an emailed statement.

Discord pointed out it doesn’t have ads on its service, instead making its money through a paid subscription service. “We make no money from advertising, selling user data to advertisers, or sharing users’ personal information with others,” a Discord spokesperson said. Discord takes user privacy very seriously and we look forward to working with the FTC.”

Reddit said it will work with the FTC to share its privacy policies.

Snap, YouTube, ByteDance, Twitch and Amazon didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Facebook declined to comment.

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