The Federal Trade Commission released a press release earlier today stating that it would be proposing new amendments to a privacy order issued to Facebook back in 2020. This is the third time since 2017 Facebook has been brought before the agency due to user privacy concerns, especially regarding the information of anyone younger than 18 years old.
The FTC alleges that Facebook did not “fully comply” with the original order, engaging in tactics to “mislead 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.”.
The revised order would ban Facebook from profiting off any data collected from members from minors. This includes any information acquired through virtual reality products, facial recognition technology, and establish mandates requiring extra protections for members.
“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,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
The FTC originally filed an official complaint in 2011. The following year the agency secured an order prohibiting Facebook from misrepresenting privacy protocols, which was violated months later by “engaging in misrepresentations that helped fuel the Cambridge Analytica scandal”.
A second order was put into place in 2020 to resolve the violations stemming from the former order, resulting in a “record-breaking $5 billion settlement” in addition to reevaluating the effectiveness of all new or modified services and protocols regarding privacy to reduce any potential risk.
This brings us to today and another accusation of violating the amended 2020 order. Additional inquiries will divulge if Facebook also violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule (COPPA Rule). While Facebook agreed to discontinue providing private user information to app developers, an Order to Show Cause revealed it continued to allow access well into 2020.
The full outlined proposals can be read here and will apply to all Meta services, including Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus. The company has 30 days to respond to the allegations that arose from their investigation.