Court Rules Against Meta’s Bid to Delay FTC’s Privacy Probe Reopening

In a decisive blow to Meta Platforms, a Washington D.C. court has thwarted the company’s attempts to stall the United States Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) resumption of an investigation into alleged privacy breaches by its Facebook division. Despite Meta’s legal maneuvers challenging the FTC’s jurisdiction, the court dismissed Meta’s plea, emphasizing the company’s failure to demonstrate a likelihood of success in its challenge.

This ruling follows a string of setbacks for Meta, as earlier this month, the same appeals court panel denied the company’s request to halt the FTC’s probe. The FTC’s renewed investigation, initiated last year, seeks to enhance the terms of a 2020 settlement with Facebook, aiming to prohibit the exploitation of minors’ data and extend restrictions on facial recognition technology. Accusations of deceptive practices targeting parents further fuel the FTC’s scrutiny of Meta’s operations.

Meta’s recourse to legal action against the FTC, alleging constitutional violations and the denial of a fair trial, appears to have hit a roadblock with the court’s latest ruling. The company’s argument that the FTC’s dual role as investigator and adjudicator infringes upon its rights failed to sway the court.

Despite Meta’s vigorous defense, the court upheld the FTC’s prerogative to scrutinize Meta’s privacy protocols, underscoring the agency’s profound interest in safeguarding public privacy rights. Judge Randolph Moss, in his earlier decision, highlighted the FTC’s compelling interest in Meta’s privacy controls, rebuffing Meta’s attempts to obstruct the investigation.

Meanwhile, Meta faces additional legal woes, as the FTC pursues an antitrust lawsuit, alleging Meta’s anti-competitive practices in the social media sphere. These allegations, if proven, could compel Meta to divest its assets, including Instagram and WhatsApp, posing significant challenges to the company’s dominance in the market.

As Meta’s legal battles intensify, the company finds itself navigating a precarious terrain, grappling with regulatory scrutiny and mounting legal pressures. The outcome of these legal skirmishes will undoubtedly shape the future trajectory of Meta Platforms in an increasingly regulated digital landscape.

The silence from both Meta and the FTC following the court’s ruling leaves the industry awaiting further developments in this high-stakes legal saga.


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