FTC suggests banning Meta from profiting off children's data

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has proposed new restrictions on Facebook parent company Meta, following allegations of violating privacy and misrepresenting parental controls on its Messenger Kids app. As part of a settlement in 2020, Facebook paid a $5 billion civil penalty and agreed to independent assessments of its privacy program. However, an independent assessor found "several gaps and weaknesses in Facebook's privacy program" that posed "substantial risks to the public." The FTC alleges Facebook also violated an earlier 2012 order by allowing app developers access to private user information and allowing third-party apps to access user data until mid-2020 in some cases. The proposed terms include a blanket ban on monetizing data from users under 18, a pause on launching new or modified products or services until the independent assessor confirms compliance, and affirmative consent for future use of facial recognition technology. The agency gave Meta 30 days to respond to the FTC's findings. Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone called the FTC's move a "political stunt" and stated that they have spent vast resources building and implementing an industry-leading privacy program under the terms of the FTC agreement. The Commission, which currently has no Republicans serving in what is usually a five-member panel due to recent resignations, voted 3-0 to approve the order to show cause.


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