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Reposted from Taylor English Insights

FTC and Meta Escalate Privacy Skirmishes

The FTC and other regulators have long had Meta (owner of Facebook and Instagram, among others) in their sights for privacy reasons. In early May, the agency very publicly went after Meta for alleged violation of two ongoing privacy settlements under which Meta had already paid millions of dollars in fines. The FTC has proposed new conditions on those existing settlements (one of which involves children's privacy) and will require Meta to make the case for why the new conditions should not be imposed.  Meta has promised to fight the new conditions.  

Why It Matters

Any company under an ongoing settlement decree with a federal agency remains subject to compliance conditions. Even for a large company like Meta that can absorb large fines, the ongoing oversight and cooperation requirements with the feds can be a significant hindrance to "business as usual." In addition, the FTC in this case is proposing massive changes that include strict limits on dealing with data of kids under 18, which would be both operationally hugely disruptive and will face weighty legal challenges from Meta.  

At the center of the FTC's new allegations are that between December 2017 to July 2019, a series of "coding errors" allowed child users of Facebook's Messenger Kids platform to participate in group text chats with unapproved contacts despite promises made to parents that children could only speak with approved accounts. Between 2018 and June 2020, Meta, which changed its name from Facebook in October 2021, also allowed third-party app developers to access the private data of users who had not used the apps in 90 days, despite promises not to do so, the FTC alleged in a legal filing.


data security and privacy, hill_mitzi, insights