Zuckerberg sued by Washington D.C. Attorney General
This is the second time Karl Racine has legally pursued the founder of Meta.
The attorney general of Washington, D.C., filed a lawsuit against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on Monday, saying that he was involved in the decision-making that resulted in the Cambridge Analytica data leak.
The petition, filed in the D.C. Superior Court, replicates allegations made by Attorney General Karl Racine's office last year, when it attempted to identify Zuckerberg as a defendant in a case filed against Facebook Inc., now known as Meta Platforms Inc., in 2018. Earlier this year, a court refused that motion.
Racine's office reiterates in the latest complaint that Zuckerberg directly contributed to Facebook's inadequate management of user data. According to the attorney general's office, the corporation allowed third parties, such as the now-defunct political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, to access personal information from 87 million Americans.
Racine has argued in lawsuits that Facebook was inadequate in its management of user data.
In a statement, the attorney general stated that “The evidence shows Mr. Zuckerberg was personally involved in Facebook’s failure to protect the privacy and data of its users leading directly to the Cambridge Analytica incident,” adding that “This lawsuit is not only warranted, but necessary, and sends a message that corporate leaders, including CEOs, will be held accountable for their actions.”
Separately, Facebook has agreed to pay $5 billion to resolve similar Federal Trade Commission claims. Mr. Zuckerberg stated at the time of the settlement that Facebook was "going to make some major structural changes to how we build products and run this company.”
A Washington D.C. judge denied the attorney general's office's attempt to add Zuckerberg as a defendant earlier this year, ruling that the agency had waited too long to suit Zuckerberg personally as part of its action against Facebook.
Racine's office disagreed with the judge's judgment, claiming that gathering enough evidence to determine if Zuckerberg was a knowing participant had taken a lengthy time.
Recently, authorities have been investigating corporate records provided by a former employee, Frances Haugen, and reported on by The Wall Street Journal, which demonstrates that the firm's own research highlighted negative consequences of its platforms that were not addressed.
The tech titan stated that it has taken various initiatives that have had an impact on its revenue in order to defend the security and privacy of its consumers. It has contested the interpretation of several documents.