The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has accused Facebook, owned by Meta, of misleading parents about children’s protection and deceptive collection of user data. The FTC found that Facebook misled parents by providing misinformation about control over who their children contact in the Messenger Kids app, thereby breaching the 2019 agreement on privacy. The proposed changes include banning Facebook from making money from minors’ data and imposing more restrictions on facial recognition technology. Meta, which mainly relies on digital ads targeted at users’ personal data, saw its shares fall by 2% on Wednesday, but it has refuted the FTC’s action as a “political stunt.”
FTC proposes tighter privacy agreement
The FTC has proposed a ban on Facebook’s ability to monetize data collected from users under 18 years old, including in virtual reality businesses. The commission also seeks to expand limitations on facial recognition technology and tighten existing agreements on privacy. Facebook has 30 days to respond and can appeal any commission decision to an appeals court. The company’s shares fell initially but later recovered, and it has vowed to fight the action.
FTC demands accountability from Facebook
The FTC’s action against Facebook is significant as it highlights the company’s failure to protect children and its repeated violation of privacy promises. According to Debra Williamson of Insider Intelligence, “the revenue implications are not likely very large” as only 5.2% of Facebook’s monthly US users are under 18. However, the FTC’s move is the first step in changing the 2019 agreement. Facebook has twice before settled with the FTC over privacy violations, and the company faces ongoing legal action involving the purchase of Instagram and WhatsApp. The FTC has demanded accountability from Facebook and warned that the company’s recklessness has put young users at risk.