After more than 4 years of scandal with consulting Cambridge Analytica, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook’s (meta) parent company, has been sued directly for alleged involvement in a privacy breach case by Washington, D.C. Attorney’s Office. Data from millions of users of the social network has been collected infrequently and extracted for analysis during major political events, such as the campaign of former President Donald Trump in 2016. The opening of the operation was announced Monday 23rd by the District Attorney for the District of Columbia, Carl A. Racine.
The attorney general alleges Zuckerberg’s active participation in decisions that allowed the political consulting firm to analyze the personal data of more than 80 million users without permission, in violation of the platform’s private policy. Racine filed a lawsuit against Facebook in 2018 (the lawsuit is still ongoing), and is currently seeking to personally hold the Meta CEO to account. “Zuckerberg’s policies have allowed for lengthy efforts to mislead users about the extent of Facebook’s illicit behavior (…) This process is not only justified, but necessary, and sends the message that corporate leaders, including CEOs, will be held accountable for their actions,” he said in an official statement.
Cambridge Analytica, which was founded in 2013 and closed in 2018, has been engaged in data mining and analysis. The company collaborated with Donald Trump’s team during the 2016 election, as well as providing policy advice during Britain’s exit from the European Union (The United Kingdom is leaving the European Union). The company has been accused of creating an algorithm capable of predicting the potential impact on schools of potential voters. The company’s involvement in political events is the subject of several ongoing criminal investigations in the United States and the United Kingdom.
This is not the first time that Attorney General Carl A. Racine Zuckerberg accountable directly. In March last year, a judge rejected an attempt to list the billionaire as a defendant in a lawsuit against Cambridge Analytica. This time around, Racine says his team has access to thousands of documents, including testimonies from Facebook employees. The attorney general also claims that the CEO was aware of the potential harm from sharing user data, but failed to act to prevent wrongdoing.
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