33 US States File Lawsuit Against Meta For Collecting Underage Users Data
Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, has raised serious concerns. Since early 2019, Meta has received over 1.1 million reports of users younger than 13 on Instagram. Despite this, only a fraction of these accounts were disabled.
Meta is facing serious allegations of knowingly allowing underage users on its Instagram platform, collecting their personal data without consent, and failing to effectively implement age-verification systems.
The main issue here is that Meta has been collecting personal data from these underage users without parental permission. This data includes sensitive information like location and email addresses. This practice directly violates a federal law designed to protect children’s online privacy.
In response, attorneys general from 33 states in the USA have filed a legal complaint against Meta. This lawsuit is substantial and could result in Meta facing hundreds of millions of dollars in civil penalties if the allegations are proven true.
The complaint revealed that Meta was aware of the presence of millions of underage users on Instagram. This wasn’t a hidden fact within the company; it was an ‘open secret’.
Yet, Meta continued to operate in a way that allowed these underage users to remain on the platform. The company’s age-verification methods were criticized for being ineffective, enabling young users to lie about their age and create accounts.
This isn’t the first time Meta has been in hot water over privacy concerns. In 2019, they had to pay a record $5 billion and change their data practices to settle charges from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) about deceiving users over privacy control.
The current case against Meta is part of a broader trend where major tech companies are being held accountable for privacy violations, especially concerning children. In the past, the FTC has brought similar complaints against other tech giants like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite.