The FTC is asking for information on “how social media and video streaming services collect, use, track, evaluate or obtain personal and demographic information; how they determine the advertisements and other content presented to consumers; whether they apply algorithms or data analysis to personal information; how they measure, promote and research user engagement; and how their practices affect children and adolescents. “
The commissioners voted 4-1 to issue the orders. Commissioners Rohit Chopra, Rebecca Kelly Slaughter and Christine S. Wilson wrote in a joint declaration that the study “will lift the hood of social media and video streaming companies to carefully study their drivers. When it comes to the impact of technology companies on the privacy and behavior of Americans, this study is timely and important. “
Commissioner Noah Joshua Phillips, who voted against the measure, argued a dissenting statement that the ordinances constitute “an undisciplined foray into a wide variety of subjects, some of which are only tangentially related to the stated purpose of this inquiry. Actions taken today offer a real opportunity to use scarce government resources to advance public understanding of critical consumer data privacy practices to inform ongoing policy discussions in the United States and around the world – for the emergence of action on a litany of complaints with tech companies. “
Regulators have focused more intensely on big tech companies lately. Last week, the FTC and 48 Attorneys General filed antitrust charges against Facebook.