Mark Zuckerberg Sued By DC AG Over Cambridge Analytica Scandal

Washington DC, Attorney General Karl Racine campaign against Meta and Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg continues, with a fresh lawsuit being launched.

Karl Racine first sued Facebook in December 2018, for allowing data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica to improperly access data from users.

Now over four years since the data sharing scandal first erupted, the Washington DC, Attorney General has begun fresh legal action about Mark Zuckerberg.

Cambridge Analytica scandal

It was back in April 2018, when Cambridge Analytica and Facebook were at the centre of a row over the misuse of personal data on 87 million people, mostly in the US.

Indeed, such was the fallout at the time that the firm was forced to shut down soon afterwards.

In the UK Facebook was fined £500,000 fine by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), because of the data sharing scandal, and in October 2019 the firm dropped its appeal against the ICO fine.

Meanwhile in the United States, the US Federal Trade Commission in July 2019 hit Facebook a record-breaking fine of $5 billion (£4bn) for its involvement in the matter.

Facebook has also faced lawsuits in the US over the matter.

In October 2020 the social networking giant was hit with a mass action lawsuit in the UK, after nearly one million Britons joined a lawsuit organised by a group called ‘You owe Us‘, which has the stated intention “to show that the world’s biggest companies are not above the law.”

Zuckerberg lawsuit

Now Washington, DC, Attorney General Karl Racine announced on Monday he is suing Mark Zuckerberg personally, accusing him of misleading the public on the company’s handling of privacy and personal data in connection with the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The lawsuit was filed in DC superior court, represents Racine’s latest attempt to hold Zuckerberg personally liable after a judge rejected an attempt last year to name Zuckerberg as a defendant in an ongoing suit against Facebook over the same issue.

“Since filing our landmark lawsuit against Facebook, my office has fought tooth and nail against the company’s characteristic efforts to resist producing documents and otherwise thwart our suit,” said AG Racine.

“We continue to persist and have followed the evidence right to Mr. Zuckerberg,” he said. “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.”

“This unprecedented security breach exposed tens of millions of Americans’ personal information, and Mr. Zuckerberg’s policies enabled a multi-year effort to mislead users about the extent of Facebook’s wrongful conduct,” said AG Racine. “This lawsuit is not only warranted, but necessary, and sends a message that corporate leaders, including CEOs, will be held accountable for their actions.”

AG Racine said that trove of ‘evidence’ unearthed during the litigation process made this week’s lawsuit possible.

AG Racine alleged Zuckerberg ‘enabled Cambridge Analytica to use Facebook data and influence voters’; and ‘built Facebook into a company with remarkable influence where its decisions impact users across the globe.’

Other lawsuits

In a tweet, Meta spokesman Andy Stone said it is “an important time” to remind people of AG Racine’s earlier failure to add Zuckerberg to the existing Facebook suit.

AG Racine has also hit other big name tech firms with lawsuits.

He hit Amazon in May 2021 with an antitrust lawsuit, claiming the company’s practices have “raised prices for consumers and stifled innovation and choice across the entire online retail market.”

AG Racine is also one of four US attorneys general who in January 2022 sued Google for allegedly misleading users about when it was able to track their locations.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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