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FTC Issues Orders to Nine Social Media and Video Streaming Services

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posted on Dec, 14 2020 @ 09:55 PM
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There's been a bunch of talk lately around social media, censorship and other things. Something a little different though. The FTC has issued an order to 9 social media and video streaming companies requesting information related to how they collect and use information, specifically related to children and teenagers....so the press release says.

Digging into the actual order though it seems to go well beyond that.


www.ftc.gov...

link to actual order (pdf)


The Federal Trade Commission is issuing orders to nine social media and video streaming companies, requiring them to provide data on how they collect, use, and present personal information, their advertising and user engagement practices, and how their practices affect children and teens.

The FTC is issuing the orders under Section 6(b) of the FTC Act, which authorizes the Commission to conduct wide-ranging studies that do not have a specific law enforcement purpose. The orders are being sent to Amazon.com, Inc., ByteDance Ltd., which operates the short video service TikTok, Discord Inc., Facebook, Inc., Reddit, Inc., Snap Inc., Twitter, Inc., WhatsApp Inc., and YouTube LLC. The companies will have 45 days from the date they received the order to respond.

The FTC is seeking information specifically related to:

-how social media and video streaming services 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.




Now, jumping into the order itself, section 12 gets interesting, the bolded parts are mine.


12. For each Social Media and Video Streaming Service identified in response to
Specification 5, submit all Documents Relating to the Company’s or any other Person’s
strategies or plans, Including, but not limited to:


a) business strategies or plans;

b) short-term and long-range strategies and objectives;

c) expansion or retrenchment strategies or plans;

d) research and development efforts;

e) sales and marketing strategies or plans, Including, but not limited to, strategies or
plans to expand the Company’s customer base or increase sales and marketing to
particular customer segments (e.g., a user demographic);

f) strategies or plans to reduce costs, improve products or services (e.g., expanding
features or functionality), or otherwise become more competitive;

g) plans to enter into or exit from the sale or provision of any Relevant Product or other
product or service;

h) presentations to management committees, executive committees, and boards of directors and

i) budgets and financial projections. For regularly prepared budgets and financial
projections, the Company need only submit one copy of final year-end Documents
for prior years, and cumulative year-to-date Documents for the current year.




It would seem like the government is asking for all information related to all research and development. As well as a bunch of other interesting things throughout seemingly unrelated to the purpose of the order.

The companies targetted are also kind of interesting, many will recognize them here from the various debates on censorship.

It seems like maybe the FTC has decided to step in and do a nice thorough investigation of these companies.

Whatever comes of it, they've got 45 days to comply and provide a hell of a lot of info.

I recommend checking out the PDF. It's not too long, but it's fairly dense to quote much here.
edit on 14/12/2020 by dug88 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 14 2020 @ 10:16 PM
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This is something I'd like to know as well.

I have two kids that have exactly zero presence on social media.

Aside from ATS, I do not engage in any social media either. Neither does my wife.

But they still have all of our data. All 4 of us.

You can't plug the leak and it is by design. We are then told to just accept a privacy-free life.

Obvious tyranny is obvious.
edit on 12 14 2020 by projectvxn because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 14 2020 @ 10:25 PM
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a reply to: projectvxn

Sounds like the FTC just wants to learn the tricks of the trade, maybe so they can copy them.

This is one of those situations where you need to pick exactly one :

"Free market" or allow the government to pass regulation to make the aggregation illegal.

Let's stop kidding ourselves though we (Americans at least) will never make the practice illegal, most Americans dont even care - obvious by the Snowden leaks



posted on Dec, 14 2020 @ 10:49 PM
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a reply to: projectvxn

I don't mean this in the wrong way but a five minute search through your threads gives me enough data to pinpoint exactly who you are...

Not going to but with the stuff you write it is interesting enough for some to make that effort.

You give out more info than you are aware off...

Peace



posted on Dec, 14 2020 @ 10:58 PM
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a reply to: operation mindcrime

I am an honest person.

I maintain that I am in charge of my Identity. It isn't about someone knowing I exist. It's about the data mining and the very real danger that it poses to people. It's about our right to act without our lives acted upon by an all powerful micromanaging system.

It isn't about hiding. I don't want to hide. On the contrary, I want to be out there with everyone else. But I want to own my data, my very identity, and I want to be compensated for its use.



posted on Dec, 14 2020 @ 11:13 PM
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a reply to: projectvxn

Without knowing you personally, I have no doubt you are a man of honor. This emanates from every single post and I love reading your opinions.

But I never understand this notion that one can remain in charge of his/her own data while sharing it with the whole world...

Companies need to make money, they need to know who you are and what they can sell you.

If you provide it for free, you can't really blame them for using it.

Peace



posted on Dec, 15 2020 @ 12:20 AM
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originally posted by: operation mindcrime
a reply to: projectvxn

Without knowing you personally, I have no doubt you are a man of honor. This emanates from every single post and I love reading your opinions.

But I never understand this notion that one can remain in charge of his/her own data while sharing it with the whole world...

Companies need to make money, they need to know who you are and what they can sell you.

If you provide it for free, you can't really blame them for using it.

Peace

The very reason for GDPR .



posted on Dec, 15 2020 @ 12:56 AM
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a reply to: Gothmog

Yeah I'm all for the protecting of private information.

My concern was with complaining about privacy while making your private information publicly available.

Peace



posted on Dec, 15 2020 @ 01:02 AM
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I think the most insidious creation so far is the smart phone. Almost everyone has one these days. It's pretty scary, people are willingly carrying around a gps tracker and bug. Sure, it has advantages and perks, but when I added it all up in my head, pros vs cons, I opted to get rid of the tether. This was back before real smart phones too, blackberry was the big new thing. That was the last cell phone I owned.



posted on Dec, 15 2020 @ 12:44 PM
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a reply to: projectvxn

Thing that ticks me off is that when I would go to work and do research there, I'd come home and get adds related to what I would research there meaning they had my office space linked with home.



posted on Dec, 15 2020 @ 01:14 PM
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originally posted by: operation mindcrime
a reply to: projectvxn

Without knowing you personally, I have no doubt you are a man of honor. This emanates from every single post and I love reading your opinions.

But I never understand this notion that one can remain in charge of his/her own data while sharing it with the whole world...

Companies need to make money, they need to know who you are and what they can sell you.

If you provide it for free, you can't really blame them for using it.

Peace


Is it really that difficult of an idea to grok though?

As a registered user of a social media site, if I share a photo, email address, network of friends/associates, etc. why should that information be a commodity that can be monetized among any number of companies that establish a business relationship with the social media company?

Of course, having a small brigade of attorneys, the social media site will undoubtedly embed language in their ToS that any person using their site will tacitly agree to handing over their contact information for marketing, in exchange for using the social media platform.

I have zero virtually zero social media presence; don't have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter accounts so I haven't parsed their legal lingo in fine granularity. But in their ToS, do the companies stipulate:

- Exactly which parties they will and won't sell your identity to? Can you, as a user, choose?
- How many transactions with ad companies can they get from your identity? 1? 5? Unlimited?
- What is the duration of time they can sell your identity? 12 months? 12 years?
- Is there any opportunity to use all or part of the platform, /without/ consenting to selling your identity?

It seems like it's a zero sum relationship where, in agreeing to use the platform, you sell everything including the kitchen sink, with no recourse or negotiation leverage.



posted on Dec, 15 2020 @ 05:21 PM
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originally posted by: ketsuko
a reply to: projectvxn

Thing that ticks me off is that when I would go to work and do research there, I'd come home and get adds related to what I would research there meaning they had my office space linked with home.


The biggest issue is the lack of awareness. Most of what these people do to collect data is outside of the scope of the Terms and Conditions agreed to at sign-up. Facebook has multiple tools that they use to mine seriously personal data in what could only be described as criminal invasion of privacy.

We put up with it because the effects aren't seen directly. Normalcy bias and all that.



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