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Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Federal Trade Commission will announce Monday that it's launching a new inquiry into the privacy and data collection practices of major tech firms including Amazon, TikTok owner ByteDance, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook as well as its subsidiary WhatsApp, Axios has learned.

The big picture: The move comes amid broader scrutiny for the industry and appears to be a wide-reaching inquiry into everything major tech companies know about their users and what they do with that data, as well as their broader business plans.

Details: The FTC is asking for a large trove of information and documents from the above platforms, plus Discord, Reddit and Snap.

  • The agency wants much of the usage and engagement data the platforms collect on their users, the metrics they use for measuring such things and short- and long-term business strategies, among many other areas of inquiry.

Background: In launching the study, the FTC is using its authority to do wide-ranging studies for no specific law enforcement purpose.

  • With this study, the commission particularly wants to look into how tech's privacy and data practices affect children and teens, according to a release seen by Axios.
  • Republican Commissioner Christine Wilson had pushed for such a study last fall.

The intrigue: The agency's five commissioners voted 4-1 to issue the orders, with Republican commissioner Noah Phillips dissenting, saying the probe was too expansive.

Between the lines: The FTC uses these types of studies to gather data that can later lead to enforcement actions, should they encounter any wrongdoing.

Go deeper

Jan 28, 2021 - Technology

Exclusive: Snapchat launches new digital literacy program

Snapchat

Snapchat on Thursday unveiled a new digital literacy program aimed at educating its users about issues like data privacy and security.

Why it matters: Snapchat intends to help its young-skewing user base understand the risks associated with navigating an under-regulated web.

Updated 28 mins ago - Sports

Big European soccer teams announce breakaway league

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (L) after striking the ball during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg match between Liverpool F.C. and Real Madrid at Anfield in Liverpool, England, last Wednesday. Photo: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

12 of world soccer's biggest and richest clubs announced Sunday they've formed a breakaway European "Super League" — with clubs Manchester United, Liverpool, Barcelona Real Madrid, Juventus and A.C. Milan among those to sign up.

Why it matters: The prime ministers of the U.K. and Italy are among those to express concern at the move — which marks a massive overhaul of the sport's structure and finances, and it effectively ends the decades-old UEFA Champions League's run as the top tournament for European soccer.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Democrats settling on 25% corporate tax rate

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The universe of Democratic senators concerned about raising the corporate tax rate to 28% is broader than Sen. Joe Manchin, and the rate will likely land at 25%, parties close to the discussion tell Axios.

Why it matters: While increasing the rate from 21% to 25% would raise about $600 billion over 15 years, it would leave President Biden well short of paying for his proposed $2.25 trillion, eight-year infrastructure package.