Tech Policy Press: 2024 Set To Be Crucial Year For Child Online Safety Litigation 

December 18, 2023

Whether the ban will go into effect will depend on determinations over the FTC’s authority. Meta responded to the proposal by calling the move a “political stunt” that usurps the authority of Congress. However, a coalition including the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and the Center for Digital Democracy later sent a letter to FTC Chair Lina Khan outlining the ways the Commission is able to modify its 2020 privacy order with Meta. “The FTC’s impetus to secure limitations on minors’ data reflects minor’s unique vulnerability to Meta’s repeated violations of the law, and is well-founded under the Commission’s authority,” the statement read. 

Meta and Google have also been accused of COPPA violations by outside groups. In 2019, a coalition including Common Sense Media and the Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a complaint with the FTC using information revealed by a class action lawsuit. The suit, which was settled in 2016, alleged that Meta created a system that “encouraged children to make unknowing and unauthorized credit card purchases” for games and “set up a labyrinthine complaint system to deter refund requests.” And as recently as August, a coalition of parental rights groups urged the FTC to look into YouTube for allegedly still serving up personalized ads on its “made for kids” videos. The FTC has not officially investigated either matter.

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