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Meta Sues FTC Over Privacy Settlement Dispute Concerning Profits from Youth Data

In a bid to safeguard its ability to generate revenue from information on users under 18, Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, initiates legal action to oppose modifications in a privacy settlement.

The parent company of Instagram and Facebook, Meta Platforms, has taken legal measures against the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in order to stop the reopening of a 2020 privacy settlement. Its objective is to resist proposed alterations that would limit its capacity to gain from data gathered on users under 18.

In the lawsuit filed on Wednesday in federal court in Washington, D.C., Meta Platforms argues that the FTC’s decision to review the 2020 consent agreement constitutes an infringement on what it perceives as “structurally unconstitutional authority.” The company urges the court to declare specific facets of the FTC’s structure as violations of the U.S. Constitution, thereby rendering the reopening of the privacy agreement illegal.

The conflict stems from a 2020 consent agreement between Meta Platforms and the FTC, which led to the social media giant paying a record $5-billion penalty for privacy breaches. However, in May of this year, the FTC alleged that Meta had not fully adhered to the settlement and recommended significant changes, including prohibiting Meta from profiting from data obtained on minors, including information gathered through its virtual reality products.

Meta’s legal action follows the conservative majority of the U.S. Supreme Court indicating a willingness to entertain challenges to how regulatory agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), handle fraud cases. The court implied that individuals accused of fraud by the SEC should be entitled to a jury trial in federal court, a stance resonating with certain aspects of Meta’s lawsuit.

U.S. Sen. Edward J. Markey, a prominent critic of Meta and other major technology firms, dismissed Meta’s lawsuit as a “feeble effort to evade responsibility.” He characterized Meta’s legal maneuvers as embracing “extreme, conservative legal doctrines” to contest the authority of consumer protection organizations.

Image Source: mundissima @ShutterStock

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