If it seemed like everyone and their mother took up gaming this year, that may be because playing became far more popular as social media transforms the industry.

Nearly all games allow for multiple players to interact inside the game, but this year as the pandemic kept people at home, game worlds further converged with social media. Gamers used livestreaming platforms like Twitch and Discord to connect as they play.

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The Federal Trade Commission ordered TikTok, Snap, YouTube, Amazon and Twitter, along with four other social media and streaming sites to turn over information about how they collect and use information about users.

The far-reaching probe is aimed at exposing the algorithms and other tools that have fueled the technology companies' growth and helped them penetrate so deeply into the American psyche.

"Policymakers and the public are in the dark about what social media and video streaming services do to capture and sell users' data and attention. It is alarming that we still know so little about companies that know so much about us," three Federal Trade Commissioner said in a joint statement.

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