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US regulator proposes to prohibit Facebook from monetizing youth data

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed a prohibition Wednesday to prevent Facebook from monetizing youth data.

The regulator said the proposed changes are related to its privacy order with Facebook in 2020 when it argued that the company failed to comply with the order, misled parents about children communicating through the Messenger Kids app and misrepresented private user data access for some application developers.

“Facebook has repeatedly violated its privacy promises,” Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. “The company’s recklessness has put young users at risk, and Facebook needs to answer for its failures.”

The changes, if realized, would prohibit Meta, Facebook’s parent, from profiting from data it collects, including from virtual reality products from users under the age of 18.

Meta, in addition, would be subject to other expanded limitations, such as its use of facial recognition technology, while it would be required to provide additional protections for users.

The FTC said it is the third time it has taken action against Facebook for failing to protect users’ privacy after it filed a complaint in 2011 that was secured in 2012 that barred the firm from misrepresenting its privacy practices.

Facebook agreed to a second order in 2019 to resolve claims amid violating the first order, as it took effect in 2020, and was required to pay a civil penalty worth $5 billion.

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