Bradley attorney Ty Howard was quoted in Communications Daily on the FTC’s recent inquiry into social media company data collection practices, which could likely result in enforcement action, much like the agency’s 6(b) study that led to its antitrust case against Facebook. The FTC sent orders to Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Amazon, Twitter, ByteDance, Reddit, Snap and Discord earlier this month.
“I don’t know that anyone who receives a 6(b) order says, ‘Oh boy, glad this wasn’t a subpoena,” said Howard. It “functionally is a subpoena, and they’re incredibly burdensome.”
The orders are nothing less than “sweeping,” seeking broadly defined pieces of information from nine different companies, he said.
Howard said he expects the companies will resist and seek to narrow the inquiry’s scope. He noted Commissioner Noah Phillips’ dissent and characterization that the inquiry is too broad and not valuable. Companies could seek to settle the negotiation in federal court, but it’s more likely things will play out behind the scenes informally, he added.
The original article, "FTC Could Follow Facebook Formula With Recent Big Tech Privacy Orders," appeared in Communications Daily on December 31, 2020.