Meta, formerly known as Facebook, is facing more sanctions from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for allegedly failing to comply with a 2020 privacy order. The proposed sanctions include a blanket ban on monetizing data collected from users under 18, whether they use Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram or Quest virtual reality headsets. In addition, Meta would need to seek explicit consent from users before employing facial recognition technology, and a third-party assessor would need to confirm that Meta is fully compliant with its obligations before launching new products, services, and features.
The FTC issued the privacy order, which is in place for 20 years, as part of a $5 billion settlement with Meta over the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The FTC has accused Meta of violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by allegedly misleading parents about the control they have over who their children can communicate with through the Messenger Kids app. The agency also claims that Meta continued to provide third-party developers access to user data, despite pledging to revoke access to the information if users hadn’t accessed their apps within a 90-day period.
An assessor appointed by the FTC to ensure Meta’s compliance with the 2020 order found several flaws with the company’s privacy program. The FTC said in its Order to Show Cause that “the breadth and significance of these deficiencies pose substantial risks to the public.” Meta has called the FTC’s move “a political stunt” and is gearing up for a legal battle with the agency.