The US FTC has proposed changes to its privacy order with Meta. The regulator wants to prevent Meta from monetizing the data of minors. According to the FTC, Meta has not kept certain privacy promises.
The Federal Trade Commission claims in a press release that Meta has violated the privacy order that the regulator closed with Facebook in 2020 due to Meta’s role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The company also allegedly violated US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act rules.
Among other things, the FTC alleges that Meta misled parents about the ability to monitor who their children communicated with through its Messenger Kids app. The company also allegedly misrepresented the access some app developers were given to user data. “Facebook has repeatedly violated its privacy promises,” said Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The company’s recklessness has put young users at risk and Facebook must answer for its failure.”
As part of the proposed changes, Meta will be prohibited from profiting from data it collects from users under the age of eighteen. It would also require explicit user consent for future use of facial recognition technology. In addition, Meta would not be allowed to market any new or changed products, services or features without the written approval of an independent privacy reviewer, which oversees Meta’s compliance with the 2020 FTC privacy order. The new rules would apply to all of the company’s subsidiaries. company, including Facebook, Instagram, Oculus, WhatsApp and companies Meta acquires in the future.
In a statement Meta calls the FTC’s proposal “a political stunt.” The company argues that the FTC relies on “events that happened years ago and were publicized.” When assessing the privacy order, only ‘the first six months of a twenty-year agreement’ were also considered. The company further states that it has not violated the agreement and that it is challenging the FTC’s proposal.
The FTC found the alleged violations after an independent reviewer’s investigation into the privacy protections Meta provides. That reviewer was established in 2020 to see if Meta’s privacy policies meet the standards set by the FTC. The reviewer found “several gaps and weaknesses” in the company’s privacy program, according to the regulator. Meta has thirty days to respond to the findings. After that, the FTC will vote on whether to approve the new rules.