FTC: FTC analysis shows COVID fraud thriving on social media platforms

FTC: FTC analysis shows COVID fraud thriving on social media platforms. “With more than a century of consumer protection experience under our belt, we at the FTC know that hard times for American families can be boom times for scammers. Today’s COVID-19 pandemic is the latest crisis creating fertile ground for fraud – and scammers today have a new and powerful weapon: social media platforms. These platforms generally earn their revenue by targeting users with advertising. The more time we spend on platforms consuming content and revealing valuable personal information, the more that platforms profit by having information to target ads. So, the algorithms tend to favor content that drives engagement, which, in turn, leads to still more information gathered to target ads and to further refine their algorithms.”

Report: US ISPs Aren’t Transparent About Prices And Speeds, And Regulators Generally Don’t Care (Techdirt)

Techdirt: Report: US ISPs Aren’t Transparent About Prices And Speeds, And Regulators Generally Don’t Care . “By now we’ve well established that regional monopolization, limited competition, and the (state and federal) corruption that enables both (aka regulatory capture) are why US broadband is spotty, expensive, and slow. With neither competent regulatory oversight nor meaningful competition to drive improvements, regional dominant broadband providers simply… don’t bother.”

NiemanLab: The end of “click to subscribe, call to cancel”? One of the news industry’s favorite retention tactics is illegal, FTC says

NiemanLab: The end of “click to subscribe, call to cancel”? One of the news industry’s favorite retention tactics is illegal, FTC says. “A study of 526 news organizations in the United States found that only 41% make it easy for people to cancel subscriptions online, and more than half trained customer service reps in tactics to dissuade customers who call to unsubscribe. The Federal Trade Commission, meanwhile, recently made it clear that it sees the practice as 1) one of several ‘dark patterns that trick or trap consumers into subscriptions’ and 2) straight-up illegal. “

Business Insider: A former Google employee activist who helped organize a huge walkout is joining the FTC

Business Insider: A former Google employee activist who helped organize a huge walkout is joining the FTC. “Meredith Whittaker, a former Google AI researcher and activist employee who left the company in 2019, announced she is taking a job with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Whittaker said in a tweet Wednesday she will be joining the FTC as a senior adviser on AI.”

The Register: It’s ‘near-impossible to escape persistent surveillance’ by American ISPs, says FTC

The Register: It’s ‘near-impossible to escape persistent surveillance’ by American ISPs, says FTC. “The US Federal Trade Commission on Thursday said many internet service providers are sharing data about their customers, in defiance of expectations, and are failing to give subscribers adequate choices about whether or how their data is shared. The trade watchdog’s findings arrived in the form of a report [PDF] undertaken in 2019 to examine the data and privacy practices of major US broadband providers, including AT&T Mobility, Charter Communications, Google Fiber, T-Mobile US, Verizon Wireless, and Comcast’s Xfinity.”

Feds warn companies: Fake online reviews could lead to fines (Associated Press)

Associated Press: Feds warn companies: Fake online reviews could lead to fines. “Federal regulators say they are cracking down on ‘an explosion’ of businesses’ use of fake reviews and other misleading messages to promote their products and services on social media. The Federal Trade Commission said it has warned hundreds of major corporations and smaller businesses that they could face fines if they use bogus endorsements to deceive consumers.”

FTC: FTC Bans SpyFone and CEO from Surveillance Business and Orders Company to Delete All Secretly Stolen Data

FTC: FTC Bans SpyFone and CEO from Surveillance Business and Orders Company to Delete All Secretly Stolen Data. “Today, the Federal Trade Commission banned SpyFone and its CEO Scott Zuckerman from the surveillance business over allegations that the stalkerware app company secretly harvested and shared data on people’s physical movements, phone use, and online activities through a hidden device hack. The company’s apps sold real-time access to their secret surveillance, allowing stalkers and domestic abusers to stealthily track the potential targets of their violence.”

Washington Post: FTC refiles antitrust case against Facebook, argues no social network comes close to its scale

Washington Post: FTC refiles antitrust case against Facebook, argues no social network comes close to its scale. “The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday refiled a bolstered version of its antitrust case against Facebook. In the complaint, the agency argues that Facebook holds monopoly power in personal social networking, with no other competitor coming close. The complaint alleges that Snapchat is the company’s next-closest competitor, with tens of millions fewer monthly users than either Facebook or Instagram.”

The Verge: Facebook’s justification for banning third-party researchers ‘inaccurate,’ says FTC

The Verge: Facebook’s justification for banning third-party researchers ‘inaccurate,’ says FTC. “When Facebook banned the personal accounts of academics researching ad transparency and misinformation on its platform this week, it justified the decision in part by saying it was only following rules set out by the Federal Trade Commission. But the FTC itself says this is ‘inaccurate’ and that its rules require no such action, reports The Washington Post.”

Techdirt: FTC Formally Embraces Right To Repair As Movement Goes Mainstream

Techdirt: FTC Formally Embraces Right To Repair As Movement Goes Mainstream. “Prompted by an FTC report showing industry opposition to the movement is largely fluff and nonsense, the Biden administration recently issued an executive order urging the FTC to do more. And now the FTC, with a bipartisan vote of 5-0, has adopted a new policy paper (pdf) and says it will take tougher action against illegal repair restrictions.”

Brookings Institution: Facebook’s FTC court win is a much-needed wake-up call for Congress

Brookings Institution: Facebook’s FTC court win is a much-needed wake-up call for Congress. “Three elements in the court decision bolster the case for change by revealing how US antitrust law as conceived and practiced today is unable to cope with the growing challenges of Big Tech. The many references in the opinion to ‘lawful monopolies’ underscore that current antitrust doctrine, a durable monopoly is not illegal. Indeed, current doctrine also encourages companies to treat the goal of a permanent lawful monopoly as an incentive to develop an attractive new technology or service.”

New York Times: One of Big Tech’s Biggest Critics Is Now Its Regulator

New York Times: One of Big Tech’s Biggest Critics Is Now Its Regulator. “[Lina Khan’s] fast ascent from researcher to leader of a large federal agency underscores the growing concerns about the power of the big tech companies — and big business in general — in Washington. In her new job, she will command more than 1,000 investigators, lawyers and economists who are responsible for policing the American economy.”