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HomeTech NewsMeta cannot delay US FTC from reopening privacy probe, court says

Meta cannot delay US FTC from reopening privacy probe, court says

Meta Platforms cannot delay the U.S. Federal Trade Commission from reopening a probe into alleged privacy failures by its Facebook unit while the company pursues a lawsuit challenging the agency’s authority, a U.S. court ruled Friday.

The Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in its order found that Meta had not shown its challenge was likely to be successful. The court said Meta has “not met its heavy burden of showing entitlement to an injunction pending appeal.”

The same appeals court panel on March 12 denied a separate request by Meta in a related case to pause the FTC’s probe, which was announced last year, despite Meta’s objections that it already paid a $5 billion fine and agreed to a range of safeguards.

The FTC wants to tighten an existing 2020 Facebook privacy settlement to ban profiting from minors’ data and expand curbs on facial recognition technology. The agency has accused Meta of misleading parents about protections for children.

Meta, which has denied misleading parents about privacy risks, sued the FTC in November in a broad constitutional challenge against the agency’s ability to be both an investigative body and an adjudicative one.

Meta said among other things that allowing the FTC action to move forward would violate its right to a trial by jury.

The FTC and Meta did not immediately comment.

Friday’s D.C. Circuit order addressed Meta’s appeal of a March 15 order by U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss in Washington refusing to halt the agency’s probe.

Moss in his decision said Meta had not overcome the FTC’s “strong” public interest in scrutinizing Meta’s privacy controls.

The FTC separately has accused Meta in an antitrust lawsuit in Washington of abusing its power in the social media market to crush or buy rivals.

Meta has denied the agency’s claims, which could force the company to sell its Instagram photo-sharing platform and WhatsApp messenger.