DC AG Adds Mark Zuckerberg’s Name In The Cambridge Analytica Scandal


Almost three years after filing lawsuit against social media giant Facebook, Inc (FB), the District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine has listed CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s name as a defendant of the lawsuit for the first time.

In a Tweet on Wednesday, Racine said, “BREAKING: I just added Mark Zuckerberg as a defendant in my lawsuit against Facebook. Our continuing investigation revealed that he was personally involved in decisions related to Cambridge Analytica and Facebook’s failure to protect user data.”

This move means that if found guilty, the company would have to pay civil penalties, restitution, and attorney fees to the victims of the lawsuit.

Racine’s tweet added, “My office filed our lawsuit in 2018, and since then, we’ve reviewed hundreds of thousands of pages of documents produced in litigation and completed a wide range of depositions including former employees and whistleblowers.”

The lawsuit was originally filed after the AG’s office found that Facebook has shared data of more than 50 million individuals with a political consulting firm named Cambridge Analytica. The headcount later confirmed by the company was around 87 million. The data shared was directly in relation to the 2016 presidential election won by Donald Trump.

Facebook wanted to dismiss the lawsuit, but its appeal was rescinded by the court. Racine’s office said that it believes that Zuckerberg was directly involved with the scandal.

“Our continuing investigation revealed that he was personally involved in decisions related to Cambridge Analytica and Facebook’s failure to protect user data,”reads the official statement.

However, Andy Stone, the spokesperson of FB has dismissed the allegation. “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,” said Stone in a statement.

According to several reports, Cambridge Analytica, a Trump supporter-funded project, used Facebook’s third-party access to collect political data and then target campaign ads according to those data. In addition to these claims, Steve Bannon, Trump’s White House Advisor, was also associated with the firm.

Last month, Facebook allegedly paid more than $5 billion to the Federal Trade Commission to keep the organization from coming after the CEO according to two lawsuits filed by shareholders.

The lawsuit, filed in the Delaware Court of Chancery, was made public courtesy of the CEO of Digital Content Next, Jason Kint, who called it the “mother of all lawsuits.” The complaint was filed by the shareholders of the company who brought charges against COO Sheryl Sandberg and board members Marc Andreessen and Peter Thiel for breaching fiduciary duty.

“Zuckerberg, Sandberg, and other Facebook directors agreed to authorize a multi-billion settlement with the FTC as an express quid pro quo to protect Zuckerberg from being named in the FTC’s complaint, made subject to personal liability, or even required to sit for a deposition,” said one of the lawsuits filed by Rhode Island’s pension fund.

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