Instagram-parent Meta has filed a lawsuit against the Federal Trade Commission, attempting to block authorities from revisiting the company's landmark $5 billion privacy settlement from 2020 and from prohibiting the social media giant from monetizing children's user data.
The complaint filed in federal court in Washington on Thursday seeks to halt the FTC's process, claiming that it is an unlawful misuse of government power.
In the case, Meta claims that the FTC has acted as both prosecution and judge, resulting in an "obvious power grab... resulting in an unconstitutional adjudication by fiat."
Meta's lawsuit is an escalation after a federal judge in the same court determined on Monday that the FTC action could proceed. Meta challenged the ruling on Tuesday, but Thursday's action strengthened the company's stance even more. The FTC did not respond to a request for comment on the latest litigation.
Following allegations of fresh violations of Meta's 2020 consent order, the FTC requested in May to broaden the conditions of the company's settlement to include major new limitations prohibiting it from selling personal data of users under the age of 18. The agency also demanded tighter restrictions on Meta's use of face recognition, as well as a halt to new goods and services from the firm unless a third-party audit can demonstrate that it is meeting its privacy requirements.
If granted, the limits may severely hinder Meta's data-driven company, especially as it aims to attract younger members and expand into other product sectors like virtual reality.
Meta's complaint is also the latest in a long line of legal challenges to the authority of independent federal agencies, a power that is increasingly being scrutinized by the nation's top courts and may be reduced by the Supreme Court.