DC Attorney General Karl Racine announced Wednesday that he is now including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as a defendant in a consumer protection lawsuit he filed against the social media giant.
In a tweet, Racine explained that an ongoing investigation by his office revealed Zuckerberg’s personal involvement in the company’s failure to protect user data in the Cambridge Analytica case. The lawsuit was filed by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) in 2018.
Racine’s allegation about Zuckerberg is based on the OAG’s reviewing of hundreds of thousands of pages of documents produced in litigation and conducting of a number of depositions with former employees and whistleblowers, according to the Attorney General.
“This lawsuit is about protecting the data of half of all District residents and tens of millions of people across the country. We’ve taken our obligation to investigate wrongdoing very seriously—and Facebook should take its responsibility to protect users just as seriousl,” Racine wrote.
BREAKING: I just added Mark Zuckerberg as a defendant in my lawsuit against Facebook.
Our continuing investigation revealed that he was personally involved in decisions related to Cambridge Analytica and Facebook’s failure to protect user data.
— AG Karl A. Racine (@AGKarlRacine) October 20, 2021
In OAG’s lawsuit against Facebook, up to $5,000 is sought from the company for each DC resident who may have been affected by the profile data collection of British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica with Facebook’s permission.
According to the lawsuit, Facebook misled the platform’s users about the safety of their data protection.
Over 80 million Facebook users had their information accessed by Cambridge Analytica, which was hired by former President Donald Trump’s election campaign in March 2018. Around half of DC’s population are reportedly among the affected users.
Racine told The New York Times in an interview that by adding Zuckerberg into the lawsuit as a defendant “should send a message that corporate leaders, including the C.E.O., will be held accountable for their actions.”