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Christopher Ott and Jennifer Maisel Quoted in Communications Daily on FTC Privacy Orders Sent to Social Media Companies

December 31, 2020

Partners Christopher Ott and Jennifer Maisel are quoted in a Communications Daily article on the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) recent inquiry into data collection practices at social media companies including Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Amazon, Twitter, ByteDance, Reddit, Snap and Discord, and whether the inquiry will result in enforcement action. A similar study by the FTC led to its antitrust case against Facebook.

It’s “likely” to result in enforcement action due to all the tech industry activity and bipartisan support for investigating companies, said Ms. Maisel. Privacy practices are under scrutiny, but with a change of administration, it’s unclear what enforcement action would involve, she said.

The orders will help the agency establish a baseline and compare activities with privacy policies, said Mr. Ott. “It’s going to be a target-rich environment, because a lot of the data collection that’s going on with the biggest players is very poorly understood by people outside of the industry.”

Streaming services for children are “fruitful targets,” said Ms. Maisel, noting the agency’s authority under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

The Communications Daily article, "FTC Could Follow Facebook Formula With Recent Big Tech Privacy Orders," was published on December 31, 2020.