Additionally, the FTC discovered “several gaps and weaknesses in Facebook’s privacy program” that presented “substantial risks to the public”.
The regulator has suggested a number of measures, including banning the commercial use of underage users’ data and placing restrictions on the use of facial recognition technology in the future.
Meta referred to the regulator’s action as a “political stunt” and charged that it went beyond its legal bounds.
The tension between META and FTC.
According to a recent BBC News story, META, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has been charged by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with failing to establish appropriate parental controls on its platforms.
The FTC also advocated for a prohibition on Meta’s use of children’s data for commercial gain. The regulator referred to “several gaps and weaknesses in Facebook’s privacy program” that provide a severe risk to the general public, especially children’s privacy.
The report’s key concerns include that children under 13 are still permitted to chat with contacts without parental control. They run the risk of being exposed to offensive material or becoming a target of internet predators as a result.
The FTC also discovered that META kept granting access to sensitive data to third-party apps despite stating that it would revoke access if consumers failed to utilize the apps within the prior 90 days.
The FTC has proposed a number of actions to address these concerns:
- A general ban on the commercial use of data pertaining to children and teenagers under the age of 18.
- Hold on to introducing new products until it was clear they complied fully with privacy laws.
- Restrictions on the use of facial recognition technology in the future. When using facial recognition technology in the future, META must inform users and get their permission first.
META’s response to the accusations.
In response to these accusations, Andy Stone, a representative for Meta, called the FTC’s action a “political stunt.” While allowing Chinese firms like TikTok to operate freely on American soil, he charged that the regulator had overstepped its bounds and singled out Meta.
He also accused the FTC’s chair, Lina Khan, of alienating American companies.
Is META really at fault?
The FTC, on the other hand, thinks that Meta “has repeatedly violated its privacy promises” and wants greater measures to safeguard children’s privacy.
After it was discovered that Cambridge Analytica had obtained the personal information of tens of millions of Facebook users, the regulator’s case got underway in 2018.
Since then, the FTC has worked to limit some of Big Tech’s power. However, organizations like META feel they are being mistreated.
“Despite three years of continual engagement with the FTC around our agreement, they provided no opportunity to discuss this new, totally unprecedented theory,” Mr. Stone said.
The outcome of this lawsuit is still uncertain, but it serves as a reminder of the continuous conflict over data privacy and protection between regulators and Big Tech businesses.
What should parents do?
It is crucial for social media users to be aware of the dangers and take precautions to safeguard both themselves and their children’s privacy. Some parental control tips are:
- Making use of privacy settings.
- Exercising caution when disclosing information online.
- Keeping an eye on our kids’ internet activity.
Additionally, it is essential for regulators to hold businesses responsible for their actions and make sure they are open and accountable when handling user data.