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Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta Sues FTC Demanding the Right to Monetize Data of Children

Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta (formerly Facebook) has filed a lawsuit against the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), contesting new restrictions aimed at limiting how the company monetizes children’s data across its platforms.

Engadget reports that a recent lawsuit, filed on November 30, 2023, by Meta (formerly Facebook) marks a pivotal moment in the ongoing tension between big tech companies and regulatory authorities. Meta’s legal action seeks to prevent the FTC from revisiting a landmark $5 billion privacy settlement from 2020, which was a consequence of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. This move comes after a federal judge’s decision enabling the FTC to propose stringent new rules on Meta’s operations.

Meta’s stance, as outlined in the lawsuit, deems the FTC’s proceedings as an unconstitutional overreach, challenging the agency’s authority to impose such restrictions. The company’s representatives have criticized the FTC for, in Zuckerberg’s eyes, assuming the roles of prosecutor, judge, and jury simultaneously. This lawsuit represents Meta’s second attempt to legally contest these sanctions.

On the other side, the FTC maintains that Meta has persistently breached the terms of the 2020 settlement, specifically concerning user privacy and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Samuel Levine, the director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement: “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.”

The FTC’s proposed restrictions include not only limitations on data monetization but also the implementation of new rules governing the use of facial recognition technology and a freeze on new products and services until compliance with privacy obligations is independently verified.

Breitbart News recently reported that a lawsuit against Meta filed by 33 states claims the company “coveted and pursued” underage users:

One of the key accusations in the complaint is that Meta’s enforcement of age restrictions on its platforms is severely lacking. Although Facebook and Instagram policies state that a user must be at least 13 years old to sign up, the lawsuit argues that it is easy for children to falsify their age, and Meta has done little to prevent or address this issue. The complaint cites instances where, out of over 1.1 million reports of underage users on Instagram from 2019 to 2023, Meta disabled only a fraction of these accounts.

 

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