FTC: Protector of Consumers, Promoter of Fair Competition

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently unveiled its Fiscal Year 2023 report. This annual dossier sheds light on the agency’s relentless efforts to safeguard consumers and stimulate fair competition, a task that’s become more challenging as we navigate an ever-evolving digitized economy.

FTC Chair Lina M. Khan expressed, “The FTC is directed at making sure that American consumers, workers, and entrepreneurs experience honest markets and economic liberty that stems from fair and free competition.” The report heralds the stellar work undertaken by the FTC team throughout 2023, striving to improve the lives of Americans in myriad tangible and significant ways.

In 2023, the FTC found itself in a whole new arena, navigating the frontier of artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithm-based decision-making tools. The commission maintained a future-focused approach in its enforcement and policy initiatives, keeping pace with the rapid advancements in technology.

The report outlines the FTC’s diverse initiatives to safeguard the privacy of Americans, particularly children, hold fraudulent companies accountable, and stop corporations from levying unjustifiable hidden costs. In a similar vein, the agency promptly addressed subscription malpractices, clarified that AI does not excuse non-adherence to laws, and championed the cause of domestic manufacturers, independent repairers, and small businesses, ensuring that they can compete on an equitable platform.

One of the landmark actions of the FTC in FY 2023 was suing Amazon for insidiously enrolling consumers into its Prime program without their consent. Additionally, the FTC orchestrated the most extensive telemarketing bust in American history, collaborating with over 100 federal and state law enforcers to target operations responsible for billions of illegal robocalls.

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The commission also cracked down on a fraudulent scheme that falsely claimed to boost earnings for consumers’ e-commerce storefronts using AI. In its commitment to data privacy, the FTC enforced several cases against major corporations. They include Amazon and Microsoft for infrifying on children’s online privacy, BetterHelp for deceiving users about health data sharing, Premom for violating the Health Breach Notification Rule, and Ring for failing to protect customer videos and accounts.

The FTC’s efforts were not limited to consumer protection. The agency also deployed a range of strategies to prevent anticompetitive practices, prohibit companies from monopolizing markets, and combat unfair business strategies. Several critical initiatives were launched to check anticompetitive mergers, including actions against Amazon and a lawsuit against U.S. Anesthesia Partners and private equity firm Welsh Carson.

The FTC’s FY 2023 also witnessed a move towards policy review, aiming to align U.S. federal enforcers’ merger policies with the current market realities. The agency also made substantial efforts to facilitate communication between the FTC and the American public, exemplified by Open Commission Meetings, comment dockets, and public workshops.

As embroidered in the FTC’s report, its efforts have been pivotal in curbing unethical business practices, fostering a fair competition landscape, and championing consumers’ rights. The FTC’s role in our economy serves a crucial function, and this in-depth look into their work throughout 2023 reveals just how critical their efforts truly are.

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