D.C. Attorney General Targets Mark Zuckerberg in Facebook Consumer Protection Lawsuit
According to recent reports, the attorney general for the District of Columbia will soon add Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to a consumer protection lawsuit, saying that sharing private data with third-party developers was Zuckerberg’s “brainchild.”
The New York Timesreports that Karl Racine, the attorney general for the District of Columbia, will soon add Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg to a consumer protection lawsuit as part of efforts to expose the company CEO himself to potential financial and other penalties for privacy violations.
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Racine said on Tuesday that interviews and reviews of internal documents for the case revealed that Zuckerberg played a major role in key decisions, a much bigger tole than regulators previously realized. The privacy complaint was filed against Facebook in December 2018 in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and alleges that Facebook purposefully misled users about privacy on the platform by allegedly allowing the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to gather sensitive data on more than 87 million users.
Facebook requested a dismissal of the suit, claiming that the company never misled consumers. But in June 2019, Judge Fern Flanagan Saddler rejected the motion and began a long period of discovery which included multiple interviews with current and former employees and reviews of testimony made by Zuckerberg before Congress.
Racine stated that the investigation showed that a major product shift in 2010 that gave hundreds of third-party developers free access to Facebook’s user data was a “brainchild” of Zuckerberg himself. “Under these circumstances, adding Mr. Zuckerberg to our lawsuit is unquestionably warranted, and should send a message that corporate leaders, including the C.E.O., will be held accountable for their actions,” Racine said in a statement.
Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone commented: “These allegations are as meritless today as they were more than three years ago, when the District filed its complaint. We will continue to defend ourselves vigorously and focus on the facts.”
Read more at the New York Times here.