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

Published 03/16/2023, 03:55 PM
Updated 03/17/2023, 11:38 AM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the Federal Trade Commission headquarters in Washington, D.C., U.S., August 29, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo
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(Reuters) -The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Thursday issued orders to eight social media and video streaming firms including Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ:META), Twitter, TikTok and YouTube seeking information on how the platforms screen for misleading advertisements.

Snap (NYSE:SNAP), Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) Inc-owned Twitch, Pinterest (NYSE:PINS) 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.

YouTube said it has a strict advertising policy that it enforces vigorously, adding it was reviewing the FTC letter and would work to provide the agency a full response. Snap said it would also respond to the FTC.

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

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

"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.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the Federal Trade Commission headquarters in Washington, D.C., U.S., August 29, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

"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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