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US FTC orders Amazon, Facebook, 7 other tech companies to tell how they process user data

The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has directed nine tech companies, including tech giants Facebook, Google and Amazon, to disclose how they collect, use and present personal information, along with their advertising and user engagement practices. In an order dated December 14, the FTC also asked for information on how these practices affect children and teenagers. The companies required to provide this information are Amazon, ByteDance (which owns TikTok), Discord, Facebook, Reddit, Snap (owner of Snapchat), Twitter, WhatsApp (owned by Facebook) and YouTube (owned by Google). These companies have been given 45 days to respond to the order. The FTC's order comes just days after it, along with a group of 48 states, filed lawsuits against Facebook, accusing it of maintaining a monopoly in the personal social media market. Both lawsuits charged Facebook of excessive collection of user data. The FTC had proposed hiving off WhatsApp and Instagram as separate companies by reversing their acquisition by Facebook. A few months ago, another tech giant Google was subject to a major antitrust lawsuit, this time filed by the US Department of Justice. The FTC has sought the following information from the nine companies: How social media and streaming services "collect, use, track, estimate, or derive personal and demographic information" How they determine which ads and content they should show to consumers Whether users' personal information is fed into algorithms or data analytics How they measure, promote and research user engagement How their practices affect children and teens Rohit Chopra, Rebecca…

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