DC Attorney General sues Mark Zuckerberg over the Cambridge Analytica scandal

Karl Racine accused the Meta CEO of violating consumer protection rules.

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Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies at a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, U.S., October 23, 2019. REUTERS/Erin Scott     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Erin Scott / Reuters

Meta's Cambridge Analytica woes are far from over. Karl Racine, the Attorney General of the District of Columbia, has sued Mark Zuckerberg. He accused the Meta CEO of having a direct hand in making the decisions that led to the major data breach.

Racine claims that Zuckerberg "contributed to Facebook’s lax oversight of user data and implementation of misleading privacy agreements." That, according to the suit, allowed consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to acquire personal data on more than 70 million Americans, including more than 340,000 DC residents. The company allegedly used the data to help sway voters in the 2016 presidential election through political ad targeting.

The AG previously sued Meta (then known as Facebook) over the scandal in 2018. That case is still ongoing. This time, Racine is targeting Zuckerberg directly. Under the jurisdiction's Consumer Protection Procedures Act, which bans unfair and deceptive trade practices, individuals are liable for a company's actions that they were aware of, controlled or failed to stop.

Racine is seeking a jury trial against Zuckerberg. He wants Meta's CEO to refrain from future CPPA violations and to pay damages and civil penalties. Engadget has contacted Meta for comment.

“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," Racine said in a statement. “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 CEOs, will be held accountable for their actions.”

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