FTC Accuses Facebook of Violating Privacy Agreement to Protect Children

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Social media company Facebook, which falls under Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta, is no stranger to controversy. It has come under fire from regulators on several occasions, accusing the technology giant of underhanded business practices and not doing enough to protect users’ privacy.

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Repeated Violations

In one such 2020 ruling, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued Facebook with a privacy order to protect children using Facebook’s Messenger Kids app. As part of the proceedings, Facebook had to pay a $5 billion civil penalty settlement and expand its privacy program. However, the FTC is now accusing Meta of violating the order and proposed several changes to force Meta into taking it seriously.

Through its failure to comply with the 2020 order, the FTC says Meta misled parents about their ability to control with whom their children communicated on the Messenger app and misrepresented the access it provided some app developers to private user data.

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“Facebook has repeatedly violated its privacy promises. The company’s recklessness has put young users at risk. And Facebook needs to answer for its failures,” explains Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

In addition to other expanded limitations, the proposed changes stipulate that Meta is prohibited from profiting from data it collects from users under 18. It would also bar the company from using facial recognition for minors and require additional protections for users.

Meta is yet to comment on the accusations and the proposed changes, which it must do within 30 days. The FTC’s Commissioner Alvaro Bedoya also released a statement, calling on Zuckerberg to explain why the Commission shouldn’t modify the original order.

But while Bedoya explains that remedial action should be equal to the transgression, he hints that he can’t make a connection between some of the proposed changes and the alleged repeated violations.

Good to know: learn how to view Instagram, Twitter and Facebook without an account.

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Charlie Fripp
Charlie Fripp

Charlie Fripp is a technology writer with a strong focus on consumer gadgets, video games, and cyber security. He holds an undergraduate degree in professional journalism and has worked as a journalist for over 15 years. In his spare time, he enjoys playing various musical instruments and gardening.

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