FTC Overreach Is Inappropriate and Bad for Children, Says ITIF
WASHINGTON— In response to the FTC’s proposed ban on Meta monetizing youth data, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the leading think tank for science and technology policy, issued the following statement from ITIF Vice President Daniel Castro:
The FTC has an important role to play as the lead enforcer of the nation’s consumer protection laws. Sadly, instead of enforcing the laws on the books, it is attempting to unilaterally expand its scope and power beyond its legal authority in ways that would limit the ability of businesses to offer services to children online.
The FTC is a regulatory agency, not a legislature. Congress is the right place to decide if and when to impose restrictions on the use of youth data by online platforms. The FTC has no authority to create new laws. There is only one coronation planned for this week, and it isn’t for Lina Khan.
While the FTC can and should ensure that companies comply with consent decrees, in this case, the FTC appears to be launching a politically motivated attack against one of the nation’s leading tech companies. The FTC Commissioners have repeatedly made clear their personal animus toward online platforms that rely on ad-supported business models, but they should still treat these businesses fairly. In this case, the alleged harms appear to be minor, yet the proposed remedies would be substantial. Moreover, the most extreme of these remedies—a call to ban the company from monetizing data of teenagers across all of its platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus—vastly exceeds any legal authority given to the FTC by Congress and would undermine the ability of companies to offer services to youth.
The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute focusing on the intersection of technological innovation and public policy. Recognized by its peers in the think tank community as the global center of excellence for science and technology policy, ITIF’s mission is to formulate and promote policy solutions that accelerate innovation and boost productivity to spur growth, opportunity, and progress.