Washington DC’s attorney general has sued Mark Zuckerberg, seeking to hold the Facebook co-founder personally responsible for his professed role in allowing the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica to collect the personal data of a large mass of Americans during the 2016 election cycle.
The suit is filed by the District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine within the capital claiming that Zuckerberg has directly participated in policies by allowing Cambridge Analytica to collect the personal data of US voters unknowingly in an attempt to help Donald Trump’s election campaign.
In a news release, Racine said that this security breach exposed tens of thousands of Americans’ personal information, and Mr. Zuckerberg’s policies misled users about the extent of Facebook’s wrongdoing. This lawsuit is necessary and conveys that corporate leaders, including chief executives, can be held accountable for their actions.
Earlier, Racine sued Meta, Facebook’s parent company, under the District of Columbia’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act. The act makes individuals liable for violations if they know about them at the time.
The suit against Zuckerberg is predicated on hundreds of thousands of documents, including depositions from employees and whistleblowers, that have been collected as part of its ongoing litigation against Meta.
Racine charges that the Cambridge Analytica scandal resulted from Zuckerberg’s desire to open up Facebook to third-party developers and said that their office made a strenuous effort to resist the company’s efforts to produce documents.
The suit alleges that Zuckerberg was conscious of the risks of data leaks associated with the strategy. In one email discussing state leakage, Zuckerberg noted “there is an obvious risk on the advertiser side,” consistent with the lawsuit.
Zuckerberg has served as chairman of Facebook’s board since 2012 and has been controlling approximately 60% of the voting shares.
Written by: Sonali Das
Edited by: Adv. Sabrina Bath