Meta Lacks Grounds To Challenge FTC Enforcement, Agency Argues

The Federal Trade Commission is asking a federal judge to dismiss Meta Platforms' lawsuit claiming that agency enforcement proceedings are unconstitutional.

In a motion filed Wednesday the agency says Meta's claims aren't valid for several reasons, including that the company waived its claims by agreeing in 2012 and 2020 to enter into settlements with the agency.

“Over the past decade, Meta has repeatedly admitted that the FTC may lawfully enter and modify administrative orders, and has repeatedly taken actions inconsistent with the constitutional arguments Meta now asserts,” the agency argues in papers filed with U.S. District Court Judge Randolph Moss in federal court in Washington, D.C.

The FTC's papers come in an ongoing battle with Meta over how it handles teens' data.

Earlier this year, the FTC proposed to ban Meta from monetizing minors' data, including by using that data for ad targeting or algorithms. The agency specifically proposed modifying its 2020 privacy settlement with Meta -- which stemmed from charges that the company allowed Cambridge Analytica and others to access users' data -- to include new restrictions on teens' data.



Meta has fought that request on several fronts.

Several weeks after the FTC sought the modifications, the company asked U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Kelly in Washington, D.C. -- who approved the 2020 settlement -- to block the agency from proceeding. Meta argued that only a judge could revise the terms of the 2020 settlement; that agreement required Meta to pay $5 billion, and called for the company to implement new privacy oversight and obtain an independent assessment.

Kelly rejected Meta's argument last month, ruling that he lacks jurisdiction over the settlement terms.

Meta is now appealing that ruling to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Separately, late last month Meta brought a separate lawsuit alleging that the FTC's structure is unconstitutional. That complaint raises a host of claims, including that FTC administrative hearings -- at which the agency serves as both prosecutor and judge -- deprive companies of due process of law, and deprive companies of the constitutional right to a jury trial.

The FTC on Wednesday argued that none of Meta's claims are “legally viable.”

In addition to arguing that Meta waived its claims, the FTC also said companies don't have a right to a jury trial when agencies seek injunctions (as opposed to monetary damages). Additionally, the agency disputes that its role as both prosecutor and judge violates Meta's right to due process of law.

“Meta has not shown or plausibly alleged that the Commission’s combination of functions results in biased adjudication,” the FTC writes.

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