The U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday said Facebook is misusing data it gathers on underage users and wants to update federal privacy policy to ban the social media platform’s parent company, Meta, from profiting on information harvested from children and teens under 18.

In an outline of the proposal, the FTC said it would like to see updates to a 2020 privacy order that required Facebook to pay a $5 billion civil penalty and “restructure its approach to privacy from the corporate board-level down.” The FTC alleges Facebook has violated terms of that order as well as the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule.

“Facebook has repeatedly violated its privacy promises,” said Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a press release. “The company’s recklessness has put young users at risk, and Facebook needs to answer for its failures.”

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The FTC’s allegations are based on a report from an independent assessor that “identified several gaps and weaknesses in Facebook’s privacy program.” The FTC also claims that parental controls for children who use Facebook’s Messenger Kids do not ensure that underage users can only communicate with contacts approved by adult parents or guardians and that “children in certain circumstances were able to communicate with unapproved contacts in group text chats and group video calls.”

In a statement posted on Twitter, Meta spokesperson Andy Stone discounted the FTC claims and said the commission’s proposed actions were an attempt to preempt congressional authority.

“This is a political stunt,” Stone wrote. “Despite three years of continual engagement with the FTC around our agreement, they provided no opportunity to discuss this new, totally unprecedented theory.

“Let’s be clear about what the FTC is trying to do: usurp the authority of Congress to set industry-wide standards and instead single out one American company while allowing Chinese companies, like TikTok, to operate without constraint on American soil.”

The FTC’s proposed changes to the 2020 order, which would apply to Facebook and Meta’s other services such as Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus, include:

  • Blanket prohibition against monetizing data of children and teens under 18.
  • Pause on the launch of new products, services.
  • Extension of compliance to merged companies.
  • Limits on future uses of facial recognition technology.
  • Strengthening existing requirements.

The FTC says it has given Meta 30 days to respond to the proposed changes.