Federal Trade Commission wants to ban Facebook from profiting from kids' data

May 3 (UPI) -- The Federal Trade Commission has proposed an update to its 2020 privacy order with Facebook after accusing the social media giant of failing to keep its promises regarding the privacy of children on the platform.

"As part of the proposed changes, Meta, which changed its name from Facebook in October 2021, would be prohibited from profiting from data it collects, including through its virtual reality products, from users under the age of 18," the FTC said in a press release Wednesday.


The FTC said that under the proposed changes, Meta "would also be subject to other expanded limitations, including in its use of facial recognition technology, and required to provide additional protections for users."

The FTC alleges "the company has failed to fully comply with the order, misled parents about their ability to control with whom their children communicated through its Messenger Kids app, and misrepresented the access it provided some app developers to private user data."

An independent assessor determined that security gaps posed a risk to Facebook's users. The FTC has asked the company to address allegations that it "misrepresented that parents could control whom their children communicated with through its Messenger Kids product."


"Despite the company's promises that children using Messenger Kids would only be able to communicate with contacts approved by their parents, children in certain circumstances were able to communicate with unapproved contacts in group text chats and group video calls," the FTC said.

Samuel Levine, director of the FTC, said, "Facebook has repeatedly violated its privacy promises."

"The company's recklessness has put young users at risk, and Facebook needs to answer for its failures," Levine continued.

The FTC has previously taken action against Facebook on two prior occasions. In 2011, the Commission filed a complaint which led to a 2012 court order barring the company from misrepresenting its privacy policy to customers. In 2019, Facebook agreed to a privacy order which went into effect in 2020 and required the company to pay a $5 billion penalty.

Social media companies have faced increased scrutiny for the safety of children on their platforms.

On Tuesday, Senators Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn, and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn, reintroduced the Kids Online Safety Act, which "requires independent audits by experts and academic researchers to ensure that social media platforms are taking meaningful steps to address risks to kids."


A previous version of the bill was criticized by advocacy groups for being too vague and too easy to misuse.

Latest Headlines