Federal Trade Commission tries to bar Meta from monetizing teens’ data

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is attempting to prevent Meta (formerly known as Facebook) from using teenagers’ data for monetary gain. The FTC filed a lawsuit on Thursday, seeking to bar the social media giant from using data gathered from minors for targeted advertising, personalization of content, and algorithmic optimization.

The FTC argues that Meta’s data collection practices violate the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which requires parental consent before collecting data from children under the age of 13. The FTC claims that Meta has been collecting data from children without parental consent and using it to target ads to them.

The lawsuit also alleges that Meta has engaged in anticompetitive behavior by acquiring potential rivals, such as Instagram and WhatsApp, and has harmed consumers by reducing the quality of user experiences and compromising their privacy.

The FTC’s action follows similar lawsuits against Meta by multiple state attorneys general, including a high-profile lawsuit filed by a coalition of 48 state attorneys general in December 2021.

Meta has responded to the FTC’s lawsuit, stating that the company has always prioritized the safety and privacy of its users, including minors. The company claims that it has implemented strict safeguards to protect the privacy of children on its platform and that it will vigorously defend itself against the allegations in court.

The outcome of the lawsuit could have significant implications for Meta and the tech industry as a whole. If the court rules in favor of the FTC, it could force Meta to change its data collection practices and limit its ability to use user data for targeted advertising, potentially setting a precedent for other companies to follow.

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