US Regulator Accuses Meta of Putting Child Users at Risk

US Regulator Accuses Meta of Putting Child Users at Risk
FTC accuses Meta of endangering children, proposes ban on monetizing data, and pause on new products. Meta denies allegations, aims to fight back.

US Regulator Accuses Meta of Putting Child Users at Risk

The company that owns Facebook and Instagram, Meta, has been accused by the top US data privacy regulator of not putting proper parental controls in place. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has also said that Meta should be banned from making money from children's data. The FTC claims that Meta's recklessness has put young users at risk and that Facebook needs to answer for its failures.

Table Of Content

  • Meta's Response
  • FTC's Findings
  • Proposed Actions
  • Meta's Defense
  • Conclusion

Meta's Response

Meta hit back, calling the regulator's move a political stunt and accusing it of overstepping its authority. In response, Metas spokesperson, Andy Stone, said the move was a political stunt. He said Meta was being singled out while allowing Chinese companies, like TikTok, to operate without constraint on American soil. He also accused Lina Khan, who chairs the FTC, of antagonising American business.

FTC's Findings

The FTC said an independent investigation had found several gaps and weaknesses in Facebook's privacy program that posed substantial risks to the public. Users aged under 13 were found to be still allowed to engage in chats with contacts not vetted by parents. The regulator also said Meta continued to give third-party apps access to private information after promising to cut off access if users failed to use
the apps in the previous 90 days.

Proposed Actions

The FTC has proposed a series of actions, including:

  • A blanket prohibition against monetising data of children and teens under 18
  • A pause on the launch of new products until it could be established they were in full compliance with privacy rules
  • Limits on future uses of facial recognition technology. Meta would be required to
    disclose and obtain users affirmative consent for any future uses of facial recognition technology.

Meta's Defense

The FTC's case began in 2018, after it was revealed that the personal data of tens of millions of Facebook users had been taken by Cambridge Analytica. The regulator has looked to rein in some of the powers wielded by Big Tech. However, companies such as Meta believe they are being unfairly treated. 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. In a statement, which mirrored Mr Stone's remarks, Meta said it had spent vast resources building and implementing an industry-leading privacy program. We will vigorously fight this action and expect to prevail, it wrote.


The FTC believes that Meta has repeatedly violated its privacy promises and wants tougher action to protect younger users. It is important for companies to prioritize the safety and privacy of their users, especially children. The FTC's proposed actions aim to hold Meta accountable and ensure that they comply with privacy rules to protect their users.

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