In a surprise move, seemingly months after the dust had settled on the affair, Mark Zuckerberg – lord of Meta’s upcoming metaverse – has been sued by Washington DC’s attorney general as he refuses to let Zuck off the hook in the Cambridge Analytica scandal during 2016’s US election.
During the election data company Cambridge Analytica were able to collect and store the personal data of millions of Americans which was then sold and used to aid Donald Trump’s election campaign. The data was used to establish who more than 50 million Americans (who took part in an online survey) would be voting for and allowed Trump’s team to target them with attempts to alter their behaviour.
District of Columbia attorney general, Karl Racine is keen to prove that Zuckerberg directly contributed to policies that allowed the whole thing to take place and is seeking to place blame and hold him personally accountable for the affair.
In a statement, Racine says: “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.
“This lawsuit is not only warranted, but necessary, and sends a message that corporate leaders, including chief executives, will be held accountable for their actions.”
Meta’s Mark-ed man
Racine has previously sued Facebook’s parent company, Meta, under the District of Columbia’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act which makes individuals responsible for violations if they knew about them at the time.
The suit now facing Zuckerberg is the product of the ever increasing volume of evidence contributed from Meta and Facebook staff.
“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. We continue to persist and have followed the evidence right to Mr Zuckerberg,” said Racine.
“At all times relevant to the lawsuit, evidence showed Mr Zuckerberg was responsible for and had the clear ability to control Facebook’s day-to-day operations,” Racine’s office said in a statement.
So far Facebook has been fined $5billion by the Federal Trade Commission for the violation of its users privacy, but it appears that the efforts to tag the blame more squarely with Zuckerberg aren’t done yet.
At the time of writing Meta are yet to comment.