FTC Probes Tech Companies' Handling of User Data

Agency launches study of tech giants regarding user data collection and handling.
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The Federal Trade Commission said on Monday that it is launching a study into the privacy and data collection practices of tech giants including Amazon.com  (AMZN) - Get Report, Twitter  (TWTR) - Get Report, Alphabet's  (GOOGL) - Get ReportYouTube, Facebook  (FB) - Get Report and it's subsidiary WhatsApp and ByteDance's TikTok.

The move comes just days after the agency and state attorneys general from 48 states filed an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook, charging that the company engaged in anticompetitive behavior to maintain a monopoly position in personal social networking.

The new study is focused on determining how tech privacy and data practices affect children and teens, according to a statement released by FTC.

The FTC is requiring the companies to submit documents and information that includes the usage and engagement data those platforms are gathering on their users.

Companies must file the report to the commission within 45 days.

Requested information includes short- and long-term business strategies, according to FTC’s order to file a special report.

Companies are expected to also describe how each user metric is calculated, and provide a data dictionary with each such metric, among other information on how user data is handled.

Discord, Reddit, Snap are also among the companies that are required to submit reports.

The FTC is using its authority to do wide-ranging studies for no specific law enforcement purpose. The FTC uses these studies to gather data that can turn into policies and enforcement at later stages in case they encounter wrongdoing.

In spite of last week,'s action, Facebook was seen to be facing little risk from the antitrust lawsuit the Federal Trade Commission filed against the social media giant, several analysts said.

KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Justin Patterson said he was struggling with "why a breakup -- a process that could take years given technical complexities -- should take place."

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