Federal agencies don't typically give the general public direct, live access to question their lawyers, but the Federal Trade Commission did just that today when agency attorneys discussed robocalls and the Do Not Call list on Facebook and Twitter.
According to the FTC, consumers are getting more robocalls than ever, as companies increasingly use cheap autodialers that can send out thousands of calls every minute. The FTC enforces the Do Not Call list, and Chairman Jon Leibowitz has promised that the agency will be "ratcheting up our efforts to stop this invasion of consumers' privacy."
On Facebook, where the FTC has 10,960 "likes," the public response to the robocall chat was less than overwhelming. Eight people posted questions (not counting follow-ups). Some wanted to know how to stop robocalls, such as the one from “Rachel from cardholder services.”
FTC staff lawyer Kati Daffan responded, "We have sued companies placing calls for 'Cardholder Services.' We have many investigations in the pipeline. We know that many like you have complained about 'Rachel from Cardholder Services.'"
Generally, Daffan suggested that people file complaints about robocalls with the FTC at donotcall.gov.
Daffan also handled the hour-long Twitter chat, which triggered 11 questions.
One person asked what the FTC was doing to increase enforcement. She responded, "Continuing aggressive law enfcmnt targeting chokepoints 2 stop max calls; working 2 make targeting even more strategic," and in a second tweet added, "Working w/ experts 2 id tech solutions including hosting a summit on Oct 18, 2012 in DC."
It was the FTC's ninth Twitter chat. The first was in December 2010 on the FTC's draft privacy report. Others in the past year covered settlements with Skechers and Reebok over toning athletic shoes and the FTC's settlement with Facebook in November.
This was the FTC's third chat on Facebook.