Reining In Meta’s Digital ‘Wild West’ as FTC protects young people’s safety, health and privacy
Jeff Chester, CDD, 202-494-7100
David Monahan, Fairplay, 781-315-2586
Children’s advocates Fairplay and Center for Digital Democracy respond to today’s announcement that the FTC proposes action to address Facebook’s privacy violations in practices impacting children and teens.
And see important new information compiled by Fairplay and CDD, linked below.
Josh Golin, executive director, Fairplay:
The action taken by the Federal Trade Commission against Meta is long overdue. For years, Meta has flouted the law and exploited millions of children and teens in their efforts to maximize profits, with little care as to the harms faced by young users on their platforms. The FTC has rightly recognized Meta simply cannot be trusted with young people’s sensitive data and proposed a remedy in line with Meta’s long history of abuse of children. We applaud the Commission for its efforts to hold Meta accountable and for taking a huge step toward creating the safe online ecosystem every young American deserves.
Jeff Chester, executive director, Center for Digital Democracy:
Today’s action by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is a long-overdue intervention into what has become a huge national crisis for young people. Meta and its platforms are at the center of a powerful commercialized social media system that has spiraled out of control, threatening the mental health and wellbeing of children and adolescents. The company has not done enough to address the problems caused by its unaccountable data-driven commercial platforms. Amid a continuing rise in shocking incidents of suicide, self-harm and online abuse, as well as exposés from industry “whistleblowers,” Meta is unleashing even more powerful data gathering and targeting tactics fueled by immersive content, virtual reality and artificial intelligence, while pushing youth further into the metaverse with no meaningful safeguards. Parents and children urgently need the government to institute protections for the “digital generation” before it is too late. Today’s action by the FTC limiting how Meta can use the data it gathers will bring critical protections to both children and teens. It will require Meta/Facebook to engage in a proper “due diligence” process when launching new products targeting young people—rather than its current method of “release first and address problems later approach.” The FTC deserve the thanks of U.S parents and others concerned about the privacy and welfare of our “digital generation.”