Dec. 14, 2020. Federal Trade Commission announces a data collection investigation of 9 major tech platforms

Press Release, December 14, 2020

Contact:

David Monahan, CCFC | david@commercialfreechildhood.org

Jeff Chester, CDD | jeff@democraticmedia.org

The Federal Trade Commission responds to push from child advocacy organizations and announces new study on data collection practices of nine major tech companies

Today, the Federal Trade Commission announced it will use its to 6(b) authority to launch a major new study into the data collection practices of nine powerful tech platforms and companies: ByteDance (TikTok), Amazon, Discord, Facebook, Reddit, Snap, Twitter, WhatsApp and YouTube. The Commission’s study includes a section on children and teens.

In December, 2019, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) and their attorneys at Georgetown Law’s Institute for Public Representation urged the Commission to use its 6(b) authority to better understand how tech companies collect and use data from children. Twenty-seven consumer and child advocacy organizations joined that request.

Here are statements from Center for Digital Democracy and Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood on today’s announcement:

“We are extremely pleased that the FTC will be taking a hard look at how platforms like TikTok, Snap, and YouTube collect and use young people’s data. These 6(b) studies will provide a much-needed window into the opaque data practices that have a profound impact on young people’s wellbeing. This study will not only provide critical public education, but lay the groundwork for evidence-based policies that protect young people’s privacy and vulnerabilities when they use online services to connect, learn, and play,” said Josh Golin, Executive Director of CCFC. 

“The FTC is finally holding the social media and online video giants accountable, by requiring leading companies to reveal how they stealthily gather and use information that impacts our privacy and autonomy.   It is especially important the commission is concerned about also protecting teens— who are the targets of a sophisticated and pervasive marketing system designed to influence their behaviors for monetization purposes,” responded Jeff Chester, Executive Director of CDD.

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