US appeals court denies Meta’s attempt to stop FTC’s Facebook privacy probe

The US Appeals Court for the District of Columbia rejected Meta’s attempt to halt the FTC’s privacy investigation into Facebook. The court upheld the FTC’s right to tighten a 2020 settlement, focusing on minors’ data and facial recognition limits.


The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia District has ruled against Meta’s attempt to halt the US Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) reopening of an investigation into Facebook’s privacy practices. Despite Meta’s argument that it had already paid a $5 billion fine and agreed to safeguards, the court sided with the FTC, allowing it to tighten a 2020 privacy settlement and extend restrictions on facial recognition technology, specifically targeting profiting from minors’ data.

The FTC aims to strengthen a 2020 privacy settlement with Meta, banning profiting from minors’ data and imposing stricter limits on facial recognition. As such, the FTC accused Meta in May 2023 of misleading parents about child protections, prompting the proposed modifications.

Meta sought to freeze the case while challenging the FTC’s inquiry on constitutional grounds, but the court rejected this, stating the FTC’s privacy concerns involve important public interests. Meta claimed the court order did not address the substance of the allegations, calling them without merit.

As Reuters reported, this decision poses a setback for Meta, as it continues to face legal challenges, including allegations of addicting children to its platforms and a separate lawsuit accusing it of monopolizing the personal social network market.