Did your kids buy gear in Fortnite without asking you? The FTC says you could get a refund
The Federal Trade Commission announced late last year that Epic Games would pay $520 million in penalties and refunds to settle complaints revolving around children’s privacy and its payment methods that tricked players into making unintended purchases.
US says Elon Musk should not be immune to testifying about the former Twitter
The U.S. government says the former Twitter’s request to end oversight of its data privacy and security practices is “meritless” and owner Elon Musk should not be immune to testifying about the company since he has “first-hand knowledge” of the conduct being investigated.
Children's advocates ask FTC to investigate Google for targeting ads to kids
Children's advocacy groups including Fairplay and Common Sense Media are asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Google, saying the tech giant serves personalized ads to kids on YouTube despite federal law prohibiting the practice.
WATCH LIVE: Candace Campos, Mike Holfeld talk ‘consent farms’ on Take 6
The Federal Trade Commission is taking on illegal telemarketing calls and so-called consent farms with a joint task force involving more than 100 federal and state law enforcement partners, including the attorneys general from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
FTC sues to block Microsoft’s takeover of video game maker Activision Blizzard
The Federal Trade Commission has sued to block Microsoft from completing its deal to buy video game company Activision Blizzard, the latest antitrust challenge to the proposed merger but one that could hasten its conclusion.
US officials seek to crack down on harmful AI products
The federal government will “not hesitate to crack down” on harmful business practices involving artificial intelligence, the head of the Federal Trade Commission warned Tuesday in a message partly directed at the developers of widely-used AI tools such as ChatGPT.
FTC probes Twitter data practices after Elon Musk's layoffs
The Federal Trade Commission is investigating Elon Musk’s mass layoffs at Twitter and trying to obtain his internal communications as part of ongoing oversight into the social media company’s privacy and cybersecurity practices, according to documents described in a congressional report.
FTC fines GoodRx for unauthorized sharing of health data
The Federal Trade Commission has imposed a $1.5 million penalty on telehealth and prescription drug discount provider GoodRx Holdings Inc. for sharing users’ personal health data with Facebook, Google and other third parties without their consent.
Twitter leak exposes 235 million email addresses from hack
Personal emails linked to 235 million Twitter accounts hacked some time ago have been exposed according to Israeli security researcher Alon Gal — making millions vulnerable to having their accounts compromised or identities exposed if they have used the site anonymously to criticize oppressive governments, for instance.
FTC sues to block Microsoft-Activision Blizzard $69B merger
The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday sued to block Microsoft’s planned $69 billion takeover of video game company Activision Blizzard, saying it could suppress competitors to its Xbox game consoles and its growing games subscription business.
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.