Washington (January 30, 2019) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, released the following statement after a TechCrunch story revealed that Facebook has been offering teens financial compensation for access to vast amount of those minors’ personal information, including personal messages, web history, and photos.
“It is inherently manipulative to offer teens money in exchange for their personal information when younger users don’t have a clear understanding of how much data they’re handing over and how sensitive it is,” said Senator Markey. “I strongly urge Facebook to immediately cease its recruitment of teens for its Research Program and explicitly prohibit minors from participating. Congress also needs to pass legislation that updates children’s online privacy rules for the 21st century. I will be reintroducing my ‘Do Not Track Kids Act’ to update the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by instituting key privacy safeguards for teens.
“But my concerns also extend to adult users. I am alarmed by reports that Facebook is not providing participants with complete information about the extent of the information that the company can access through this program. Consumers deserve simple and clear explanations of what data is being collected and how it being used.”
Senator Markey and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) sent a letter to Facebook this week demanding information about new evidence that the company knowingly manipulated children into spending their parents’ money without permission while playing games on Facebook.