is in hot water with the Federal Trade Commission once again after the agency took on the company, which allegedly failed to fully comply with a 2020 privacy order. Among other things, the agency has proposed a blanket ban on monetizing the data it Meta collects from users under the age of 18, whether they use Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, or Quest VR headsets.
The proposed penalties, which the FTC is seeking to apply as part of an update to the 2020 order, include prohibiting Meta from releasing new products, services and features unless an advisor confirms that the company is in full compliance with its obligations. Additionally, Meta would have to obtain explicit consent from users before employing facial recognition technology. All of these measures, plus others the FTC has proposed to strengthen aspects of the 2020 order, would apply to companies that Meta buys or merges with.
The FTC issued the most recent privacy order, which has been in effect for 20 years, as part of Meta (then known as Facebook) which it reached with the agency over the Cambridge Analytica scandal. At the time, the FTC determined that Meta had violated a 2012 order on the privacy of user data. In addition to allegedly failing to comply with the 2020 order, Meta violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), according to the FTC.
“Facebook has repeatedly violated its privacy promises,” Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Office of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. “The company’s recklessness has put young users at risk and Facebook must answer for its failures.”
Among other things, Meta allegedly misled parents about how much control they have over who their children can communicate with through the Messenger Kids app. The FTC says that between 2017 and mid-2019, the children violated the 2012 order and COPPA.
In addition, the agency says that Meta continued to provide third-party developers with access to user data, despite pledging in 2018 to revoke access to the information if users had not accessed its apps within a period of time. 90 days. According to the FTC, Meta allowed third-party developers to maintain access to user data in certain situations until sometime in 2020.
A counselor appointed by the FTC to ensure Meta’s compliance with the 2020 order found that there were several flaws in the company’s privacy program. In his, the FTC said that “the breadth and significance of these deficiencies pose substantial risks to the public.”
In addition, the agency says that Meta continued to provide third-party developers with access to user data despite pledging in 2018 to revoke access to the information if users had not accessed its apps within a 90-year period. days. According to the FTC, Meta allowed third-party developers to maintain access to user data in certain situations until sometime in 2020.
Meta called the FTC’s move “a political stunt.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the potential impact on his business, Meta is preparing for a legal battle with the agency. “Despite three years of ongoing engagement with the FTC around our settlement, they did not provide an opportunity to discuss this totally unprecedented new theory,” the company said in a statement that spokesman Andy Stone .
“Let’s be clear about what the FTC is trying to do: usurp the authority of Congress to set industry-wide standards, and instead single out an American company while allowing Chinese companies, like TikTok, to operate unrestricted on the ground.” US”. FTC Chair Lina Khan’s insistence on using any measure, however unfounded, to antagonize corporate America has reached a new low. We have spent significant resources building and implementing an industry-leading privacy program under the terms of our agreement with the FTC. We will vigorously fight this action and hopefully prevail.”