Thu. Feb 22nd, 2024

Meta, which owns WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook, received a setback after a US judge denied a motion filed by the tech company for the court to take over a case wherein the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can seek to reduce the amount of money the social media giant makes from users under 18.
In a 17-page order, the judge noted that he did not have jurisdiction over a 2020 settlement, which included a $5 billion fine on the company over alleged privacy violations by the US regulator.A commission decision can be appealed to the relevant appeals court.
What’s the case
Meta has been under scrutiny for some time over its privacy practices. Soon after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook agreed to pay a $5 billion fine to resolve alleged 2012 violations of misleading users about how much control they had over their personal data.
The company also said that it would further strengthen its privacy practices to settle the case in 2019 and an order on the same was finalised in 2020.
However, in May this year, the FTC accused Meta of more privacy violations alleging the company of misleading parents about how much control they had over who their children had contact with in the Messenger Kids app.
The FTC sought to ban Meta from profiting off the data of minors and limit its use of facial recognition technology.
At that time, Meta spokesman Andy Stone called the FTC proposal “a political stunt” and vowed to contest the effort.
“Despite three years of continual engagement with the FTC around our agreement, they provided no opportunity to discuss this new, totally unprecedented theory. FTC Chair Lina Khan’s insistence on using any measure – however baseless – to antagonise American business has reached a new low,” Stone said.
What Meta has to say
On the latest allegations, Meta said that the FTC’s allegations about children and privacy were “without merit.”
“We are considering our legal options in light of the Court’s ruling and will continue to vigorously fight the FTC’s unlawful attempt unilaterally to rewrite our agreement,” news agency Reuters quoted a spokesman for the company.
The FTC also asked a federal court in 2020 to order Facebook to sell Instagram, which it bought for $1 billion in 2012, and WhatsApp, which it bought for $19 billion in 2014.

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