U.S. FTC asks social media, video streaming firms for data on misleading ads

The FTC issued orders to eight social media and video streaming firms, seeking information on how the platforms screen for misleading advertisements

March 17, 2023 10:11 am | Updated 10:11 am IST

File photo of the Federal Trade Commission headquarters sign

File photo of the Federal Trade Commission headquarters sign | Photo Credit: REUTERS

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Thursday issued orders to eight social media and video streaming firms including Meta Platforms Inc., Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube, seeking information on how the platforms screen for misleading advertisements.

Snap, Amazon.com Inc.-owned Twitch, Pinterest, and Instagram are the other companies which are all required to provide information such as ad revenue and number of views including those in categories of products and services more prone to deception.

The companies did not immediately respond to Reuters' requests for comment.

The regulator is seeking to scrutinise and restrict paid commercial advertising that is deceptive or exposes consumers to fraudulent healthcare products, financial scams, counterfeit and fake goods, or other fraud.

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"Social media has been a gold mine for scammers who tout sham products and other scams that have cost consumers enormously in recent years," said Samuel Levine, director of the FTC's consumer protection bureau.

"This study will help the FTC ensure that social media and video streaming companies are doing everything they can to keep scammers and deceptive ads off their platforms."

The order comes after the FTC asked Twitter to turn over some internal communications related to owner Elon Musk and other detailed information about business decisions as part of an investigation earlier this month.

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