New lawsuit against Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, presenting on Stage at the 2016 F8 summit

writer icon Lily Olsson     Facebook   |   Tech     🕐 20. Dec. 2018

A lawsuit is being brought against Facebook by Washington DC’s top prosecutor. 

Cambridge Analytica
The lawsuit is based upon Facebook’s role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. It accuses Facebook of selling off the personal information and data of more than 50 million Facebook users. 

The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal broke in March 2018, when former employee of Cambridge Analytica Christopher Wylie blew the whistle on what was happening behind the scenes.

Wylie revealed that Cambridge Analytica had paid to acquire personal user data from Facebook. The profiling firm then allegedly used the data to influence the 2016 US presidential election

When everything came to light, Facebook was quick to deny knowledge of what was going on, whilst simultaneously apologising for the mistakes of the company. 

A string of investigations
The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday 19th December by District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine, according to the Washington Post.

It comes after a long line of investigations, with Facebook being called upon to answer questions in both the US and abroad. A mere two months ago, in October 2018, Facebook was handed fines of £500 000 by the UK’s data protection watchdog.

£500 000 is the maximum penalty in this case, as the offences occurred prior to GDPR taking effect in May 2018. Since GDPR, fines can be much higher.

This may spell more bad news for Facebook, as they are currently being investigated by the Irish Data Protection Commission to determine if Facebook has broken the laws of data protection. 

Further accusations
On the same day that the Washing DC lawsuit was filed, the New York Times published a damning article revealing internal documents from Facebook. The documents purport that Facebook gave other tech giants, including Amazon, Microsoft, and Spotify, far greater access to people’s private data than it had disclosed.

It has been a year of security breaches, scandals and broken trust for the social media giant. Facebook is currently also being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice.

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