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Meta Platforms Encounters Another Data Breach Claim From Users

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Meta Platforms Encounters Another Data Breach Claim From Users
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Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook) has again come into the light following another incident associated with data privacy. The metaverse company reportedly refused to shut down stagnant Instagram accounts of users under 13 years of age while collecting personal information according to multinational news channel CNN. The organization has a history of similar incidents which affected their reputation negatively.

Age Verification is a Challenge

Civil penalties could reach millions of dollars given they allegedly drew data from millions of such accounts. The fines could go up to $50,000 per violation. The lawsuit highlights that Meta Platforms have violated several consumer-based statutes including Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA).

The company explained that they do not allow users under the age of 13 on the photo-sharing platform. They told CNN in a statement that “Instagram’s Terms of Use prohibit users under the age of 13 (or higher in certain countries) and we have measures in place to remove these accounts when we identify them. However, verifying the age of people online is a complex industry challenge.”

Additionally, the document also highlights that the company knew about potential exposure to harmful content to the users on their platform. Moreover, Meta, alongside other social media companies, was accused of being a reason for the deteriorating mental health of users.

The attorney general of New York City, said last month that, “Meta has profited from children’s pain by intentionally designing its platforms with manipulative features that make children addicted to their platforms while lowering their self-esteem.” Furthermore, another eight judges sued the company under similar claims.

In September, the company allegedly intercepted healthcare information from Facebook accounts. The company reportedly installed “pixel” on the patient portal. According to plaintiffs, it can track visitors’ activity on non-Meta platforms. Judge William H. Orrick, a district judge from California, denied the company’s motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ claims.

In May, the European Union (EU) asked the company to pay $1.3 Billion in a data transfer incident. Ireland’s Data Protection Commission confirmed that Meta mishandled data while shipping it to the United States. The incident was associated with 2013 revelations from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal remains the most notorious data breach affiliated with the company. Data from around 87 Million people was used without their consent for the presidential campaigns of Ted Cruz and Donald Trump in 2016. 

Political consultancy firm, Cambridge Analytica, eventually filed for bankruptcy. Christopher Wylie revealed the cache of documents to British news outlet The Guardian.

The social media giant had to pay $725 Million to settle the class-action lawsuit that followed. The leak caused global backlash and official investigations into Meta’s privacy practices.

Financial blows like this did not just come from penalties. Meta Platforms’ bet on the metaverse has caused them to suffer loss of billions of dollars.

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