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Meta asks appeals court to tell FTC it cannot reopen privacy case

Meta AI logo is seen in this illustration taken September 28, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
Meta AI logo is seen in this illustration taken September 28, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

The company that owns WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook, Meta Platforms (META.O), has filed a case in which it asks an appeals court to prevent the Federal Trade Commission of the United States from unilaterally reopening a consent agreement and forcing the social media giant to cease collecting money on data from persons under the age of 18.

The disagreement dates back to May, when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommended tightening a consent agreement for 2019 to prevent Meta from collecting money from underage customers, particularly in its virtual reality business. In addition, it would increase the constraints placed on face recognition technology.

For breaking a previous agreement, Facebook, which changed its name to Meta in 2021, was due to pay a fine of $5 billion, according to the deal reached in 2019.

The current action is part of a more significant conflict between Meta and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which is working to promote privacy and competition among large technology companies. In response, the FTC tries to prevent any changes that may hurt earnings.

The corporation submitted a separate appeal against the decision made by Court Timothy Kelly this week, which stated that the decision about the issue ought to be made by an FTC court rather than a district judge.

According to the allegations made in this fresh case, which was submitted late on Wednesday, it is unlawful for the Federal Trade Commission to tighten an existing consent agreement unilaterally. Several individuals, including Chair Lina Khan, the two Democratic commissioners, Rebecca Slaughter and Alvaro Bedoya, and the agency itself, are defendants in the document.

In May, the agency announced that it had initiated the action because, among other things, it was alleged that Meta had deceived parents about the amount of control they had over who their children had contact with within the Messenger Kids app.

In the Meta complaints, the agency’s dual duty of prosecuting a case before an FTC court is the primary focus of attention. Following the conclusion of the FTC judge’s judgment, the commission will vote on whether to adopt the verdict. Additionally, it claims that the Federal Trade Commission’s trials do not allow juries and that the commissioners are “unconstitutionally insulated from removal by the president.”

A request for a response was made to the FTC, but they did not immediately answer.

A separate antitrust dispute is being fought between the government and Meta. In 2020, it submitted a petition to a federal court requesting that the firm be ordered to sell Instagram, which it had purchased for $1 billion in 2012, and WhatsApp, which it had purchased for $19 billion in 2014. There has not been a trial in this case as of yet.

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