FTC Preparing Wide-Ranging Antitrust Suit Against Amazon

The Federal Trade Commission is preparing a potential antitrust lawsuit against Amazon Inc. that in the coming months could challenge an array of the tech giant’s business practices as anticompetitive, according to people familiar with the matter. The timing of any case remains in flux, some of the people said. The commission also could opt not to proceed, and doesn’t always bring cases even when it is making preparations to do so.

FTC Unveils Proposal To Ban Noncompete Clauses

The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday rolled out a proposal to prohibit employers from implementing noncompete clauses that limit workers’ ability to change jobs. Noncompetes, which are used in a broad range of industries, make it difficult for employees to work for a competitor or start their own business for a period of time after they leave employment.

The FTC’s Newest Commissioner Speaks

Alvaro Bedoya, confirmed in May, is the newest member of the five-person body running the agency. Known in D.C. tech policy circles as a leading consumer digital rights advocate, he was an influential Senate staffer and most recently founded and ran Georgetown Law School’s Center on Privacy and Technology, working to shine a light on how technology can negatively impact society’s most vulnerable.

Fortnite Maker To Pay $520M For Privacy, E-Commerce Abuses

The Federal Trade Commission reached the settlements to resolve two cases against Epic Games Inc., which has parlayed Fortnite’s success in the past five years to become a video game powerhouse. The $520 million covered in the settlement consists of $245 million in customer refunds and a $275 million fine for collecting personal information on Fortnite players under the age of 13 without informing their parents or getting their consent. It’s the biggest penalty ever imposed for breaking an FTC rule.

FTC Didn’t Stop Facebook-Instagram. How About Meta-Within?

Facebook parent Meta is sparring with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in federal court over its pending acquisition of a virtual reality fitness company Within Unlimited.

Lina Khan, Aiming To Block Microsoft’s Activision Deal, Faces A Challenge

Khan, the chair of the Federal Trade Commission, has staked an ambitious trustbusting agenda on a case that may be difficult to win.

FTC Sues To Block Microsoft’s Acquisition Of Game Giant Activision

The lawsuit marks Lina Khan’s most significant effort to date to address tech industry consolidation, and it could upend Microsoft’s gaming ambitions.


Big FTC Penalties On Google, iHeart Require Attention

All media companies, including broadcasters, webcasters, podcasters and others, need to consider carefully their advertising production after the big penalties imposed on Google and iHeart for broadcast commercials where local DJs promoted the Pixel 4 phone. Promotions included statements that clearly implied that the announcers had used the phone, including statements that it was “my favorite camera” and “I’ve been taking studio-like photos” with the phone. But, according to the announcements of the settlement with the FTC and seven state attorneys general, the announcers had not in fact used the phone.

Regulators Put Brakes On Media Megadeals

Some of the biggest surprises in media M&A this year came not from ambitious CEOs or activist investors but from the clinical precision of regulators focused on warding off too much market concentration. The simmering regulatory probe by the Justice Dept. and Federal Trade Commission of the Microsoft-Activision merger is being closely watched as a litmus test for future transactions.

FTC’s Crypto Marketing Probe Could Spell Trouble For Ad Agencies

The ad industry could be implicated in the consumer trust problem roiling the crypto space.

Google, iHeartMedia Sued By FTC And States Over Fake Endorsements

The Federal Trade Commission and seven states have sued Google and iHeartMedia over ads by radio announcers who endorsed the Pixel 4 phone, despite never having used the device. Google and iHeartMedia agreed to resolve the allegations by paying $9 million total to the states that sued: Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and Texas. (The Texas settlement is only with iHeartMedia; that state has a separate lawsuit pending against Google over the ads.)

FTC Warns Of Action Against Twitter As Top Leaders Quit

Workers who survived last week’s mass layoffs are facing harsher work conditions and growing uncertainty about their ability to keep Twitter running safely as it continues to lose high-level leaders responsible for data privacy, cybersecurity and complying with regulations. The FTC said in a statement Thursday that it is “tracking recent developments at Twitter with deep concern. No CEO or company is above the law, and companies must follow our consent decrees,” said the agency’s statement. “Our revised consent order gives us new tools to ensure compliance, and we are prepared to use them.”

Supreme Court Seems Poised To Streamline Challenges To Agency Power

The Supreme Court, which has in recent years become increasingly skeptical of the power of administrative agencies, seemed ready on Monday to make it easier to challenge their structure and authority. The court heard separate arguments in two cases, one involving the Federal Trade Commission and the other the Securities and Exchange Commission. The question in both was where and when constitutional objections to agency power may be pursued. The justices appeared ready to rule that people and companies need not wait for administrative rulings to press constitutional claims in federal court.


Lawmakers Urge FTC To Crack Down On Collection Of Children’s Data

The Federal Trade Commission should strengthen rules that restrict companies from collecting children’s personal data, four Democratic lawmakers say in a letter to the agency. “Threats to young people online have reached a crisis point,” Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) and Lori Trahan (D-Mass.) say in a letter sent last week to FTC Chair Lina Khan.

Ad Groups Urge FTC To Rethink Proposed Revisions To Endorsement Guides

Ad organizations are objecting to key provisions of the Federal Trade Commission’s proposed updated guidance regarding testimonials — including a new definition of the term “endorsement” that suggests “tags” can in themselves be endorsements.

Self-Regulatory Group Raises Concerns Over FTC’s Privacy Initiative

The self-regulatory organization Network Advertising Initiative is worried that the Federal Trade Commission’s recent move toward regulating data collection may reflect a bias against targeted advertising.

FTC Sues Kochava Over Sale Of Location Data

FTC Looking At Rules To Corral Tech Firms’ Data Collection

The Federal Trade Commission announced the initiative Thursday, seeking public comment on the effects of companies’ data collection and the potential benefit of new rules to protect consumers’ privacy. The FTC defines commercial surveillance as “the business of collecting, analyzing and profiting from information about people.”

Republican FTC Commissioner Noah Phillips To Step Down

Noah Phillips, one of two Republican commissioners at the Federal Trade Commission, is set to leave the agency in the fall. Phillips’ departure comes at an extraordinarily high-profile moment at the agency, one marked by a heightened skepticism toward corporate consolidation and tension between the Republicans and Democrats on the commission under Chair Lina Khan, a progressive antitrust hawk who has targeted the tech giants and corporate concentration across the economy


FTC Chair Upends Antitrust Standards With Meta Lawsuit

Lina Khan may set off a shift in how Washington regulates competition by filing cases in tech areas before they mature. She faces an uphill climb.

FTC Sues To Block Meta Virtual Reality Deal

The Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday filed for an injunction to block Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, from buying a virtual reality company called Within, potentially limiting the company’s push into the so-called metaverse and signaling a shift in how the agency is approaching tech deals.

FTC: Anonymization Is No Shield For Ad Data Collection

The Federal Trade Commission is warning the “shadowy” advertising-tech marketplace that it is on the lookout for any practices that run afoul of its rules, and that any claims ad-related data collection is anonymized to protect consumers are no shield from the long arm of the regulator. And while the FTC is an independent agency, the White House has added its muscle to the warning by circulating it to the press.

Senators Seek FTC Investigation Of TikTok

Legislators from both sides of the aisle — Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) — have teamed up to urge the Federal Trade Commission to investigate over-the-top video clip streaming site TikTok based on reports that suggest the Chinese-based company is not insulated from the Chinese government’s demands for data on U.S. users. Warner and Rubio are the chair and vice chair, respectively, of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

FTC Faces Staff Exodus, Anger Over Lina Khan’s Leadership

The management style of President Biden’s pick to lead the agency is leading to staff discontent and risks derailing her ambitions, according to the New York Post. Sources close to the agency say that her academic brilliance doesn’t necessarily translate into management ability — and that its 33-year-old leader’s inexperience has longtime staffers at the 1,100-person agency heading for the exits.

FTC Chair Khan Expecting ‘Very Active Year Ahead’

Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan has a busy year ahead of her. With the panel’s newly restored Democratic majority, the agency tasked with enforcing antitrust laws and protecting consumers is poised to tackle a diverse set of issues across the economy. “As a general matter, we have a very active year ahead that’s planned,” Khan, who was picked by President Biden to lead the agency early in his term, said Wednesday.

FTC To Revamp Digital Advertising Guidance

The Federal Trade Commission plans a major overhaul of its guidance for digital advertisers, the agency says. It last issued updated guidance for online disclosures in 2013, when it recommended that marketers make sure all terms, conditions and disclaimers were available to people who accessed ads on small mobile screens. Lesley Fair, a senior attorney with the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said: “It’s time for a start-to-finish reboot, given the major changes in advertising tactics and techniques that marketers use.”

FTC Fines Twitter $150 Million Over Ad-Targeting Snafu

The Federal Trade Commission has fined Twitter $150 million over allegations that it misled users by asking for their phone numbers and email addresses for security purposes, but then drew on the information for ad targeting.

How A Long-Fought Democratic Win Could Pose Trouble For Amazon And Elon Musk

With the confirmation of a third Democrat to the Federal Trade Commission, the progressive chair, Lina Khan,  regains the agency’s majority — and the ability to speed ahead with her priorities.

Senate Confirms Alvaro Bedoya As FTC Commissioner

The Senate on Wednesday confirmed President Joe Biden’s pick for Federal Trade Commissioner, Alvaro Bedoya. The 51-50 vote was along party lines, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking a tie. For months, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has urged swift confirmation of Bedoya, who’s nomination Senate Republicans have aggressively opposed.

Democrats Seek To Break Stalemate On Biden FCC, FTC Nominees

Republicans on the Senate Commerce Committee have so far blocked the nominations of Georgetown University law professor Alvaro Bedoya to the FTC and consumer advocate Gigi Sohn to the FCC, largely on grounds that they are too partisan. That left both commissions deadlocked with a 2-2 split between Democrats and Republicans, denying agency leaders the majorities they needed to advance the Biden administration’s priorities. In response, Senate Democratic leaders are preparing to use a parliamentary maneuver known as a discharge petition to allow a floor vote on both nominees, according to people familiar with the matter.

FTC, Justice Seek Input On Media, Tech Mergers

The Biden administration is looking beyond antitrust theories for input on the “first-hand impacts” of media and tech mergers to help guide its planned rethink of merger enforcement. The Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission, which together divvy up antitrust reviews, will co-host “listening forums,” seeking input beyond antitrust experts to consumers, workers, entrepreneurs and others

Following Amazon-MGM Deal Close, FTC Warns It May ‘Challenge A Deal At Any Time’

Amazon on Thursday announced that it had closed its $8.5 billion acquisition of MGM. But the deal may not be out of the regulatory woods yet. The Federal Trade Commission, asked about its review of the Amazon-MGM announcement, noted that the agency has the latitude to file a legal challenge even after the parties have closed a transaction.

Amazon Moves To Force FTC Antitrust Decision On MGM Deal

Amazon has given the Federal Trade Commission a fast-approaching deadline to deliver a verdict on its proposed $6.5 billion acquisition of the MGM movie and television studio, a move that could make it difficult for the agency to challenge the deal before the tech giant completes it.

FTC Nears Decision On Whether To Challenge Amazon-MGM Merger

The FTC is set to decide over the next few weeks whether to bring an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon’s planned merger with MGM. The $8.45 billion deal was announced last May, around the same time as WarnerMedia-Discovery. The latter merger has the DOJ’s blessing and is on track to close early in the second quarter. But regulators put Amazon on notice last July that they were investigating its acquisition of the storied studio.

FTC Urged To Monitor ‘Metaverse’ For Threats To Children’s Privacy


The FTC should monitor tech companies’ use of virtual reality with an eye toward protecting children, a trio of Democratic lawmakers is urging.

FTC: Social Media Scams Tripled In 2021

The Federal Trade Commission reports that in 2021, consumers lost $770 million to social media scams, as part of its latest Consumer Protection Data Spotlight report. This figure — which makes up 25% of the year’s total fraud losses — has increased by 18 times (or $728 million) versus 2017.

FTC, DOJ Launch Joint Inquiry Aimed At Blocking Illegal Mergers

The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice’s antitrust division on Tuesday launched a new inquiry aimed at updating guidelines to block illegal mergers. The agencies are seeking public input to update guidelines over the next 60 days.

Facebook Antitrust Suit Can Proceed, Judge Says

U.S. antitrust officials can continue their case to break up Meta, Facebook’s parent company, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday, dealing a blow to the social media giant, which had argued the complaint should be dismissed. The decision allows federal prosecutors to try to prove their allegations that Meta has illegally abused a monopoly in the marketplace for social media — and that its subsidiaries Instagram and WhatsApp should be spun off.

Amazon Cloud Unit Draws Antitrust Scrutiny From Khan’s FTC

The Federal Trade Commission is pushing forward with antitrust scrutiny of Amazon’s cloud computing business, according to people familiar with the matter. Lina Khan, the head of the agency and a vocal critic of the online retailer, is advancing a probe started several years ago by her predecessor.

FTC Moves Toward Privacy Regulations

Signaling a crackdown on data practices, the Federal Trade Commission has taken the first steps toward crafting new privacy regulations. The agency quietly said in a recent regulatory filing that it was considering “initiating a rulemaking under section 18 of the FTC Act to curb lax security practices, limit privacy abuses, and ensure that algorithmic decision-making does not result in unlawful discrimination.” The filing said the FTC was at the “prerule” stage, and indicated that the next step in the rulemaking process would occur in February.