All things considered, user data has always been utilized for as long as Social media has been around, though the matter of how that information is used that is causing an uproar amongst both social media users and federal officials. It was already ordered by the Trump Administration for the TikTok parent company ByteDance to divest its interests with the growing data abuse & privacy concerns. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is also taking steps outside of the Chinese parent company and bringing investigations to a total of 9 various social networks regarding their data collection practices. These aforementioned social networks include Amazon, Snap Inc., Twitter, Reddit, Google’s YouTube, WhatsApp, Discord and of course Facebook.
The FTC is specifically focused on investigating how these social media services track, use and collect personal user data, in addition to how these practices affect teens and children, how they calculate what ads are posted to users accounts, how they calculate and promote user engagement, as well as whether or not they utilize data analytics or algorithms to collect information.
Commissioners Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, Rohit Chopra and Christine S. Wilson stated that “Despite their central role in our daily lives, the decisions that prominent online platforms make regarding consumers and consumer data remain shrouded in secrecy,” they said. “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 new investigation is only one of a myriad of moves made by the FTC to regulate social media networks & big tech with an anti-trust lawsuit having been filed against Facebook only last week.
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