FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
Judge says FTC's antitrust case against Facebook can proceed
A federal judge has ruled, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, that the Federal Trade Commission’s revised antitrust suit against Meta, formerly known as Facebook, can proceed, shutting down the social media company’s request for a dismissal. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File) (Tony Avelar)A federal judge has ruled that the Federal Trade Commission's revised antitrust suit against Meta, formerly known as Facebook, can proceed, shutting down the social media company's request for a dismissal. In a revised complaint filed last August, the FTC argues that the company pursued a “buy or bury” strategy against rivals to suppress competition. This is the FTC’s second antitrust run at the company. A federal judge in June dismissed antitrust lawsuits brought against Facebook by the agency and a broad coalition of state attorneys general that were among multiplying efforts by federal and state regulators to rein in tech titans’ market power.wftv.com
Robocalls target consumers as millions add phone numbers to national do not call list
WASHINGTON, D.C.. — Nearly 250 million Americans have placed their phone numbers on the National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry, but a new report is revealing many illegal sales callers are using advancements in technology to call people anyway. The FTC said in the first three quarters of FY 2021, it received an average of more than 300,000 robocall complaints a month. “Advancements in technology have increased the number of illegal telemarketing calls made to telephone numbers on the Registry,” the report said. It is free to sign up for the DNC Registry and you can add your number by signing up here. While the majority of robocalls are illegal without permission, the FTC said there are some exceptions.wftv.com
COVID-19 scams: How to prevent buying fake COVID tests
With COVID-19 tests in short availability, people may be heading to the internet to search where to buy one online. Not only can you lose money with a fake COVID-19 test, they may also not work and could allow you to unknowingly spread the coronavirus, the FTC said. If you do find a scam or get a fake test, the FTC wants you to report it on ReportFraud.ftc.gov. More coronavirus pandemic coverage:>> Coronavirus: How long between exposure to the virus and the start of symptoms? This tool will tell you>> How to not let coronavirus pandemic fatigue set in, battle back if it does©2022 Cox Media Groupwftv.com
Advertising Platform OpenX Agrees to Injunctive Relief and $2 Million Payment in Case Alleging Violations of Children’s Privacy Law
Online advertising platform OpenX Technologies Inc. (OpenX) has agreed to a court order requiring it to pay $2 million and to be bound by injunctive relief provisions mandating its compliance with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act and Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule. This stipulated order resolves a lawsuit the government filed against OpenX in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. “Digital advertising gatekeepers may operate behind the scenes, but they are not above the law.”The stipulated order requires OpenX to pay a civil penalty of $2 million and bars OpenX from committing future violations of the COPPA Rule or making related misrepresentations. It also prohibits OpenX from collecting location information without first obtaining express affirmative consent, mandates the deletion of data that OpenX collected in the past and requires OpenX to maintain a comprehensive program to protect the privacy of data collected from consumers and their devices. The FTC referred this case and proposed stipulated order to the Department of Justice.justice.gov
Biglari Holdings Inc. to Pay Civil Penalty for Repeat Violation of Antitrust Pre-Transaction Notification Requirements
The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, at the request of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), filed a civil antitrust lawsuit today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against Biglari Holdings Inc. (Biglari Holdings), a restaurant chain owner and investment fund operator. At the same time, the department filed a proposed settlement, subject to approval by the court, under which Biglari Holdings has agreed to pay a $1,374,190 civil penalty to resolve the lawsuit. The HSR Act imposes notification and waiting period requirements for transactions meeting certain size thresholds so that they can undergo pre-transaction antitrust review. Federal courts can assess civil penalties for pre-transaction notification violations under the HSR Act in lawsuits brought by the department. The maximum civil penalty for an HSR Act violation, which is adjusted annually, is currently $43,792 per day.justice.gov
Founder of Werner Enterprises to Pay Civil Penalty for Violating Antitrust Pre-Transaction Notification Requirements
Werner is the founder of Werner Enterprises Inc. (Werner Enterprises), one of the largest truckload carriers in the United States. The lawsuit alleges that Werner violated the pre-transaction notification and waiting period requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act of 1976 (HSR Act) for acquisitions of Werner Enterprises voting securities, several of which were large open-market acquisitions made while he was serving as a director of Werner Enterprises. The HSR Act imposes notification and waiting period requirements for transactions meeting certain size thresholds so that they can undergo pre-transaction antitrust review. Federal courts can assess civil penalties for pre-transaction notification violations under the HSR Act in lawsuits brought by the department. The maximum civil penalty for an HSR Act violation, which is adjusted annually, is currently $43,792 per day.justice.gov
Scammers target student loan borrowers ahead of pandemic pause on repayments ending
>>> STREAM CHANNEL 9 EYEWITNESS NEWS LIVE <<<There’s now a warning from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) about scammers targeting people with federal student loans to try and confuse them and potentially steal their personal information. READ: CDC endorses schools’ coronavirus ‘test-to-stay’ policiesIf you have a federal student loan, you probably already know that the #COVID19 emergency relief program that has paused your payments is ending. Learn more: https://t.co/bATpR6fiNe — FTC (@FTC) December 15, 2021It comes as the pandemic pause on repayments for federal student loans is ending at the end of January 2022. “Just a reminder the program is going to expire,” one potential scammer said in a voicemail. Never give out your federal student aid ID and don’t sign up for anything claiming to give quick loan forgiveness.wftv.com
'Pharma Bro' firm reaches $40M settlement in gouging case
The Federal Trade Commission announced the settlement Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021. Vyera raised the price of the decades-old drug from $17.50 to $750 per pill after obtaining exclusive rights to it in 2015. The increase left some patients facing co-pays as high as $16,000 and sparked an outcry that fueled congressional hearings. The settlement doesn't stop litigtaion against Shkreli, who was dubbed the “Pharma Bro" and allegedly masterminded the scheme as Vyera's first CEO. The lawsuit filed against him by the FTC and the states is scheduled for trial next week.wftv.com
Justice Department, Federal Trade Commission and UK Competition and Markets Authority Issue Joint Statement Following the G7 Competition Enforcers Summit
The U.S. agencies expressed their appreciation to the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for hosting them during this event, and for the opportunity to meet in person with the CMA to discuss cooperation between our respective jurisdictions. Following the meeting’s conclusion, the UK CMA, the FTC, and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice issue this joint statement. This week’s Competition Enforcers Summit underscored the similar challenges we face as enforcement agencies. And in today’s global economy, our agencies often review the same mergers or confront similar potentially anticompetitive conduct. Deeper recognition of our common cause of tackling anticompetitive conduct and mergers opens up possibilities for us to implement robust cross-border enforcement regimes and achieve success in ways that would elude individual agencies working alone.justice.gov
US government sues to block $40 billion Nvidia-Arm chip deal
The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday sued to block graphics chip maker Nvidia’s $40 billion purchase of chip designer Arm, saying the deal would create a powerful company that could hurt the growth of new technologies. But the deal immediately raised concerns that Arm would abandon its business model of licensing chip designs to hundreds of tech companies, including many of Nvidia’s competitors. Arm's chip designs power many of the world's smartphones. “The FTC is suing to block the largest semiconductor chip merger in history to prevent a chip conglomerate from stifling the innovation pipeline for next-generation technologies,” FTC Bureau of Competition Director Holly Vedova said in a news release. Regulators in the U.K. and the European Union have also opened investigations into the deal, citing competition concerns.wftv.com
Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission Announce Agenda for Dec. 6 and 7 Workshop ‘Making Competition Work: Promoting Competition in Labor Markets’
The Department of Justice Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced an agenda for their upcoming virtual workshop regarding competition in labor markets. First announced on Oct. 27, “Making Competition Work: Promoting Competition in Labor Markets,” will take place from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 6, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 7, and will be webcast on the FTC’s website. Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Antitrust Division, FTC Chair Lina Khan, and Special Assistant to the President Tim Wu will deliver remarks, among others. A recording of the workshop will be available on the Antitrust Division’s website and the FTC’s website. The Department of Justice Antitrust Division and the FTC invite comments from the public on the topics covered by this workshop.justice.gov
CEOs from Walmart and other major retailers just told Biden the supply-chain crisis is getting better. His antitrust watchdog doesn't believe them.
Biden planned a briefing on his Monday supply-chain summit with CEOs, but he canceled those remarks. The FTC hit them with information orders instead.news.yahoo.com
Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission Meet with Fellow G7 Enforcement Partners on Competition in Digital Markets
Today, Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Department of Justice Antitrust Division and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina M. Khan participated in a Competition Enforcers Summit (Summit) as part of the 2021 G7 Digital and Technology Track. The Summit, hosted by the UK Competition and Markets Authority, explored how competition agencies are approaching the challenges posed by digital markets. The participating delegates were from the G7 competition authorities in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the United States, plus the European Commission and 2021 G7 invitees from Australia, India, South Africa and South Korea. “There is a great deal of urgency among global competition law enforcement authorities to confront the daunting challenges presented by data-driven technologies,” said Assistant Attorney General Kanter. Coming together through the G7 to collectively learn from these experiences and share expertise can boost our anti-monopoly work worldwide,” said FTC Chair Lina M. Khan.justice.gov
Biden choice for Justice antitrust post wins Senate approval
WASHINGTON — (AP) — President Joe Biden’s choice to lead enforcement of competition laws at the Justice Department has won Senate approval as his administration pursues action against outsized market power it has condemned in several industries, including Big Tech, health care, airlines and agriculture. The vote Tuesday was 68-29 to confirm Jonathan Kanter, an antitrust lawyer who has opposed tech giants in private practice, as assistant attorney general heading the Justice Department’s antitrust division. Kanter, who also has experience in government at the Federal Trade Commission, will join the team of competition regulators and advisers that Biden has assembled to carry out an anti-monopoly agenda. The FTC, an independent regulatory agency, also oversees consumer protection and privacy in addition to competition issues. As part of the efforts to increase competition, protect consumers and curb corporate dominance, Biden has ordered regulators to give greater scrutiny to mergers.wftv.com
Justice Department and FTC File Suit to Stop Deceptive Marketing of Nasal Spray Product Advertised as Purported COVID-19 Treatment
The Department of Justice, together with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Thursday announced a civil enforcement action against defendants Xlear Inc. and Nathan Jones for alleged violations of the COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act and the FTC Act. Further, the defendants allegedly made deceptive statements about several scientific studies to bolster their unproven COVID-19 claims. The COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act, passed by Congress in December 2020, prohibits deceptive acts or practices associated with the treatment, cure, prevention, mitigation or diagnosis of COVID-19. The complaint also alleges violations of the FTC Act, which prohibits unfair and deceptive conduct, as well as false advertising. For more information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its enforcement efforts, visit its website at https://www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch.justice.gov
Department of Justice Antitrust Division and Federal Trade Commission to Hold Workshop on Promoting Competition in Labor Markets
The Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will jointly host a virtual public workshop on Dec. 6 and 7, to discuss efforts to promote competitive labor markets and worker mobility. The Department of Justice and FTC invite comments from the public on the topics covered by this workshop. The workshop will be held virtually and webcast on the FTC’s website at FTC.gov. A recording of the workshop will be available on the Antitrust Division’s website and the FTC’s website. An agenda, list of speakers and instructions for accessing the webcast will be available in the near future at https://www.justice.gov/atr/events/public-workshop-promoting-competition-labor-markets.justice.gov
Major Internet Service Providers collecting ‘troves’ of customers’ personal data, FTC report finds
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new government report found that companies like Verizon and AT&T are collecting and sharing more of their customers’ personal data than many expect. “The need for strong data privacy rules has become more urgent,” Republican Senator from Mississippi Roger Wicker said. Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington agreed, the companies collecting the information aren’t doing enough. READ: UN: Greenhouse gas levels hit a new record, cuts fall shortThe FTC report calls for more restrictions on data collection. It also raises concerns about how long companies store personal information.wftv.com
Consumer watchdog to probe Big Tech payment systems
Apple Pay, Google Pay and other payment systems created by big tech companies now dominate large portions of e-commerce and person-to-person payments. CFPB Director Rohit Chopra is seeking more transparency, as well as more details about what consumer protections have been put in place. “Big Tech companies are eagerly expanding their empires to gain greater control and insight into our spending habits,” Chopra said in a prepared statement. In the past decade, technology companies have rolled out full-featured payment systems and networks like Apple Pay, AliPay and Google Pay, which are often embedded into smart devices. While the innovation has been largely celebrated by those who use it, banks and consumer groups have raised concerns about tech companies running their own independent payment networks.wftv.com
Regulator seeks transparency for payment systems of big tech
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File) (Susan Walsh)NEW YORK — (AP) — In its first significant action under a new director, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is ordering Apple, Amazon, PayPal and other tech giants to reveal how their proprietary payment networks function. Apple Pay, Google Pay and other payment systems created by big tech companies now dominate large portions of e-commerce and person-to-person payments and CFPB Director Rohit Chopra is seeking more transparency, as well as more details about what consumer protections have been put in place. “Big Tech companies are eagerly expanding their empires to gain greater control and insight into our spending habits,” Chopra said in a prepared statement. In the past decade, technology companies have rolled out full-featured payment systems and networks like Apple Pay, AliPay and Google Pay, which are often hardwired into smart devices. Banks and consumer groups have raised concerns about tech companies running their own independent payment networks.wftv.com
Regulator to probe into tech giants' payment practices
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File) (Susan Walsh)NEW YORK — (AP) — In its first significant action under a new director, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is ordering Apple, Amazon, PayPal and other tech giants to reveal how their proprietary payment networks function. “Big Tech companies are eagerly expanding their empires to gain greater control and insight into our spending habits,” Chopra said in a prepared statement. The CFPB has rescinded or scaled back a number of policies put in place by the Trump administration. In the past decade, technology companies have rolled out full-featured payment systems and networks like Apple Pay, AliPay and Google Pay, which are often hardwired into smart devices. Banks and consumer groups have raised concerns about tech companies running their own independent payment networks.wftv.com
New FTC report: Communities of color disproportionately affected by fraud, consumer problems
The Federal Trade Commission staff report also found minority communities were more likely to be affected by certain scams like loan and debt collectors. >>> STREAM CHANNEL 9 EYEWITNESS NEWS LIVE <<<READ: Total US COVID-19 cases top 45 million as death toll surpasses 725,000According to the report, black communities are filing consumer complaints at a higher rate than White or Laltino communities. New FTC staff report outlines impact of fraud on communities of color: https://t.co/30iTMRNSrl — FTC (@FTC) October 15, 2021White Americans report using more credit cards, which often have stronger fraud protection. The report found that black communities had a 190 percent higher rate of being targeted for student loan debt relief scams than non-black areas. The FTC has also brought more than 25 legal actions against potential scammers or unfair business practices that specifically target communities of color over the last five years.wftv.com
Feds warn companies: Fake online reviews could lead to fines
WASHINGTON — (AP) — 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 rise of social media has blurred the line between authentic content and advertising, leading to an explosion in deceptive endorsements across the marketplace,” the FTC said in a news release Wednesday. The FTC action signals a commitment to flex its authority to use penalties to enforce consumer protection laws. “Fake reviews and other forms of deceptive endorsements cheat consumers and undercut honest businesses,” said Samuel Levine, who heads the agency’s consumer protection bureau. The FTC, however, stressed that a company having received a notice does not suggest that it has engaged in deceptive or unfair conduct.wftv.com
Slain reporter's father takes on Facebook over violent video
Andy Parker says the company is violating its own terms of service in hosting videos on Facebook and its sibling service Instagram that glorify violence. Andy Parker said Tuesday the company is violating its own terms of service in hosting videos on Facebook and its sibling service Instagram that glorify violence. Andy Parker said during a news conference announcing the FTC complaint that he also wants to see action from Congress. “Alison’s murder, shared on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, is just one of the egregious practices that are undermining the fabric of our society,” Parker said. Parker previously worked with the Georgetown law clinic to file a similar FTC complaint last year against Google and its YouTube service.wftv.com
Clarification: Biden-Big Tech-Antitrust story
In a story published June 15, 2021, The Associated Press reported that President Joe Biden had installed a critic of Big Tech as a top federal regulator and it referenced a big antitrust lawsuit brought last December by the Federal Trade Commission and a number of states.
US Department of Justice offering ‘one-stop’ site to report unemployment fraud
The Department of Justice’s National Unemployment Insurance Fraud Task Force has launched a one-stop connection to the Federal Trade Commission, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Labor to provide victims with quick access to resources needed to file an unemployment fraud report in all 50 states.
Biden consumer watchdog pick signals more aggressive stance
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)CHARLOTTE, N.C. – President Joe Biden's nominee to run the federal consumer watchdog agency indicated Tuesday that if confirmed he would restore more aggressive enforcement actions against companies and banks that largely faded during the Trump administration. On his first day in office, Biden asked President Donald Trump's CFPB director, Kathy Kraninger, to resign. Part of the law that overhauled the entire financial industry, the CFPB was given the mission to be an aggressive regulator and a watchdog for American consumers. He left the bureau in in the final days of the Obama administration to work for an outside consumer advocacy group. In 2018, President Donald Trump nominated Chopra to the FTC to fill the Democratic seat on the regulator.
Biden picks Chopra, Gensler for financial oversight roles
President-elect Joe Biden is set to nominate Rohit Chopra as the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, tapping a progressive ally of Sen. Elizabeth Warren to helm the agency whose creation she championed. Gensler, a former Goldman Sachs banker, tightened oversight of the complex financial transactions that helped cause the Great Recession. Consumer and investor advocate groups praised the selections of Gensler and Chopra. Mulvaney had been a vocal critic of the consumer agency and made deep changes to it, softening regulations on payday loans, for example, and pulling back on enforcement efforts. As one of two Democratic commissioners on the five-member Federal Trade Commission, Chopra has been an outspoken critic of practices by big companies, especially tech giant Facebook.
Closer by Beijing at community group buying and big tech
Chinas market regulator will increase scrutiny and regulation around the community group buying industry in China, summoning some of its largest tech companies involved to discuss the matter as it looks to eradicate anti-monopoly practices in the industry. In a statement on Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2020, Chinas State Administration for Market Regulation said it had held a meeting with six internet platform companies, including e-commerce firms Alibaba, JD.com and Pinduoduo, to discuss the regulation of community group buying. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati, File)HONG KONG – China is ramping up its scrutiny of the practice of community group buying, summoning some of the nation's largest tech companies for discussions as part of an anti-monopoly push. Community group buying allows groups of people living in the same town or region to buy groceries and other items in bulk at a discounted rate, a growing practice that is being facilitated by big tech companies. The Administration for Market Regulation also warned against illegally collecting and using customer data.
States making bold new legal claims in 2 Google lawsuits
As a wave of antitrust actions surges against Google and Facebook, states in two lawsuits are stretching beyond the cases made by federal competition enforcers to level bold new claims. (AP Photo/File)WASHINGTON – As a wave of antitrust actions surges against Google and Facebook, states in two lawsuits are stretching beyond the cases made by federal competition enforcers to level bold new claims. The states are taking new legal approaches as they join the widening siege against the two once seemingly untouchable behemoths. The latest case came Thursday as dozens of states filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, alleging that the search giant exercises an illegal monopoly over the online search market, hurting consumers and advertisers. “This is a big deal.” The DOJ brought an antitrust suit against AT&T in 1974 that led to its breakup.
Agency homing in on social media companies' data collection
WASHINGTON – Federal regulators are ordering Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, TikTok’s parent and five other social media companies to provide detailed information on how they collect and use consumers’ personal data and how their practices affect children and teens. The other five companies are Reddit, Snap, Discord, WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, and Google’s YouTube. Regulators and lawmakers are increasingly weaving their concerns over data power and privacy into their investigations of Big Tech companies' market dominance. Facebook, the largest social network, gets the bulk of its revenue — which reached $70.7 billion last year — from online ads. They said the planned study “will lift the hood on the social media and video streaming firms to carefully study their engines."
US antitrust siege of tech widens with lawsuits vs Facebook
The antitrust lawsuits were announced by the Federal Trade Commission and New York Attorney General Letitia James. Regulators filed landmark antitrust lawsuits Wednesday against Facebook, the second major government offensive this year against once seemingly untouchable tech behemoths. Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple have come under scrutiny from Congress, federal regulators, state attorneys general and European authorities. “The government now wants a do-over, sending a chilling warning to American business that no sale is ever final,” Facebook general counsel Jennifer Newstead said in a statement. Antitrust skeptics point to newer social media services such as TikTok and Snapchat as rivals that could “overtake” older platforms like Facebook.
US govt, states sue Facebook for 'predatory' conduct
Federal regulators and a group of states launched a landmark antitrust offensive against Facebook, accusing the social network of abusing its market power in social networking to crush smaller competitors. Amazon and Apple also have been under investigation in Congress and by federal authorities for alleged anticompetitive conduct. Facebook called the government actions “revisionist history” that punishes successful businesses and noted that the FTC cleared the Instagram and WhatsApp acquisitions years ago. James alleged Facebook had a practice of opening its site to third-party app developers, then abruptly cutting off developers that it saw as a threat. Facebook paid $1 billion for Instagram, bolstering the social network's business a month before its stock went public.
FTC says Zoom misled users on its security for meetings
WASHINGTON – Federal regulators are requiring Zoom to strengthen its security in a proposed settlement of allegations that the video conferencing service misled users about its level of security for meetings. A complaint filed by the agency accused Zoom of deceiving users over security since at least 2016. “The security of our users is a top priority for Zoom," it said. But we should all be questioning whether Zoom and other tech titans expanded their empires through deception. Zoom could have taken the time to ensure that its security was up to the right standards."
Regulators crack down on aggressive, dubious debt collectors
Of more than 85,000 debt collection complaints from consumers this year, the FTC said nearly half pertained to debts that didn’t exist or to abusive and threatening practices. “This might be debt collection complaints; it also might be complaints about various credit repair organizations or debt relief, mortgage relief and debt settlement.”The commission, working with other federal agencies and authorities in 16 states, is also launching a campaign to give consumers tips on what to do when confronted with a debt collection call. Both companies based in the Buffalo area were permanently banned from the debt collection industry under agreements reached in December and February. In many cases, the commission alleges, National Landmark Logistics had no right to collect the debt it sought or there was no debt to collect in the first place. A lawyer for National Landmark Logistics LLC declined comment.
Outcry as some nursing homes try to grab stimulus checks
(Leah Millis/Pool via AP)WASHINGTON Compounding the hardships of the coronavirus, some nursing homes have demanded that low-income residents turn over their $1,200 economic stimulus checks, a cash grab lawmakers want to halt. Low-income Medicaid recipients must not be coerced into wrongly handing over their checks for fear of being kicked out of their homes, wrote Neal and Pallone. We are not aware of widespread issues with resident stimulus funds," the American Health Care Association said in a statement. Generally, a Medicaid recipients taxable income is taken into account in determining their eligibility for the program. CMS chief Seema Verma tweeted on Tuesday that nursing homes engaging in this behavior will be subject to enforcement action.