FTC issues 6(b) orders to social media and video streaming services

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One digit can make a lot of difference. Would the Proclaimers have walked 501 miles? How effective was Love Potion #10? Did the Beatles ask would you still need me, would you still feed me when I’m 65? With so much attention on Section 5 of the FTC Act, some may overlook another important provision of the statute: Section 6(b). The FTC has issued 6(b) orders to nine well-known social media and video streaming platforms seeking information about their data collection, use, storage, disclosure, and deletion; advertising; user engagement; and demographic information.

Under Section 6(b), the FTC may require a company to file “reports or answers in writing to specific questions” about its business practices. The FTC just sent 6(b) orders to Amazon.com, Inc., ByteDance Ltd. (operator of TikTok), Discord Inc., Facebook, Inc., Reddit, Inc., Snap Inc., Twitter, Inc., WhatsApp Inc., and YouTube LLC.

The purpose of the orders is to help the FTC understand how the companies use consumer data. Specifically, the 6(b) orders seek more information about:

  • how the companies collect, use, track, estimate, or derive personal and demographic information;
  • how they determine which ads and other content are shown to consumers;
  • whether they apply algorithms or data analytics to personal information;
  • how they measure, promote, and research user engagement; and
  • how their practices affect children and teens.

Each company will have 45 days from the date it receives the order to respond.
 

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