Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman Lina Khan took aim at big technology companies in her first appearance before Congress as the agency’s head, saying online digital platforms are partly to blame for a surge in fraud reported by Americans during the pandemic.
“Fraud has continued to surge,” Ms. Khan said Wednesday, July 28, before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “One reason is that fraud today is supercharged by digital platforms where this conduct is tolerated and even promoted.”
Ms. Khan, didn’t name any online platforms or specify actions the FTC might take. She could face legal hurdles in targeting online platforms, however, as a law known as Section 230 generally shields internet companies from liability for the actions of their users.
Democratic commissioners suggested they would focus initially on learning more about the algorithms that big tech platforms might be using to disseminate scams.
“If we are not able to dig in and understand how that targeting works, how those algorithms work, we will not be able to hold them accountable when they are amplifying fraud,” said Commissioner Rohit Chopra. “We can’t just go after fraudsters one by one, we need to look at the gatekeepers and those who profit from amplifying them as well.”