FTC orders social media to provide info on how they collect and use personal data

And information on how these policies affect children.

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
Expertise News, mobile, broadband, 5G, home tech, streaming services, entertainment, AI, policy, business, politics Credentials
  • I've been covering technology and mobile for 12 years, first as a telecommunications reporter and assistant editor at ZDNet in Australia, then as CNET's West Coast head of breaking news, and now in the Thought Leadership team.
Corinne Reichert
Angela Lang/CNET

The Federal Trade Commission has asked all major social media and video streaming platforms to provide information on how they deal with users' personal data. The order was sent Monday to Facebook , WhatsApp , Snap, Twitter , Amazon , YouTube, TikTok owner ByteDance, Twitch, Reddit and Discord.

The FTC wants to know how the internet giants collect, use and track personal and demographic information, as well as how these policies affect minors. The companies have 45 days to respond to the order.

Read more: Americans don't trust content decisions made by social media giants, study says

Specifically, the FTC wants to know how these companies choose which ads to serve their users, whether they use algorithms or data analytics with personal information, and how they measure and research user engagement.

Twitter is working "as we always do to ensure the FTC has the information it needs to understand how Twitter operates its services," a spokesperson told CNET in an emailed statement.

Discord pointed out it doesn't have ads on its service, instead making its money through a paid subscription service. "We make no money from advertising, selling user data to advertisers, or sharing users' personal information with others," a Discord spokesperson said. "Discord takes user privacy very seriously and we look forward to working with the FTC."

Reddit said it will work with the FTC to share its privacy policies.

Snap, YouTube, ByteDance, Twitch and Amazon didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. Facebook declined to comment.