The District of Columbia announced that it sued Meta Platforms Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg for his role in the data breach that allowed political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to target Facebook users during the 2016 US presidential election.
The “sweeping investigation” found that Zuckerberg had lax oversight of users and created misleading privacy agreements that resulted in Cambridge Analytica and other third parties obtaining the personal information of 87 million Americans, said DC Attorney General Karl Racine.
Racine called it “the largest consumer privacy scandal in the nation’s history.”
Cambridge Analytica was hired by then-candidate Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign against Hillary Clinton.
The lawsuit is similar to another that Racine filed against Facebook in 2018, although a judge rejected the attempt to add Zuckerberg as a defendant earlier this year.
“You want to change this from a case about Facebook to a case about Mr. Zuckerberg,” DC Superior Court Judge Maurice Ross stated in a March hearing. “What value does it add to name him? There’s no more relief for the consumers of the District.”
Racine was nevertheless resolute, stating that it was important for his office to target Zuckerberg.
“We continue to persist and have followed the evidence right to Mr. Zuckerberg,” Racine stated in a statement. “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. “
In December 2019, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) voted 5-0 in favor of issuing the Opinion and Final Order to the notorious consulting firm, which worked with developer Aleksandr Kogan to obtain the vast quantities of data.