Meta is suing the U.S. Federal Trade Commission

In a significant legal development, Meta Platforms Inc., the parent company of Facebook, has initiated a lawsuit against the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This move represents a critical challenge to the FTC’s authority and its internal processes, particularly concerning the handling of privacy settlements and enforcement actions.

The Core of Meta’s Lawsuit Against the FTC

Challenging FTC’s Enforcement Authority

Meta’s lawsuit contends that the FTC’s in-house enforcement powers are structurally unconstitutional. The tech giant argues that the FTC’s administrative process violates its due process rights, particularly in how it enforces cases against companies through its in-house administrative court​​​​.

The 2020 Privacy Settlement

At the heart of the dispute is a 2020 enforcement order against Meta, in which the FTC accused the company of privacy violations. Meta previously lost a bid to prevent the FTC from reopening this enforcement order. The company has appealed this decision and is concurrently seeking to pause the FTC’s case while its lawsuit and appeal are considered.

As part of the 2020 settlement, Meta paid a $5 billion fine and agreed to make significant changes to its privacy practices. The current legal challenge arose from the FTC’s attempt to unilaterally change the terms of this agreement, which Meta views as an overreach of the agency’s authority and a violation of its constitutional rights.

Meta’s Argument: A Question of Due Process

Meta alleges that the FTC’s role in its administrative adjudications constitutes a dual role as prosecutor and judge, which it claims is a violation of the due process clause. This structure, according to Meta, allows the FTC to be both the prosecutor and the judge in its enforcement, a situation that the company argues is unconstitutional.

The Broader Legal Context

Meta’s lawsuit echoes past complaints by other companies that have sought to limit the regulatory powers of federal agencies. Recent legal challenges have been made against the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, testing the extent of their enforcement authority.

The FTC’s Response and Legal Precedents

While the FTC has declined to comment on the ongoing legal dispute, the case reflects a growing trend of companies pushing back against federal regulatory bodies. The Supreme Court has previously ruled that defendants can bring constitutional challenges to an agency’s administrative enforcement authority prior to resolving the underlying case. This precedent plays a crucial role in the legal strategies of companies like Meta.


Meta’s lawsuit against the FTC is a pivotal legal battle with far-reaching implications. It not only challenges the FTC’s internal processes but also raises fundamental questions about due process and the balance of power between corporations and regulatory bodies. As the case progresses, it will undoubtedly attract significant attention from the legal community, regulatory agencies, and the tech industry, given its potential to reshape the landscape of federal regulatory authority in the United States.