DC attorney general sues Facebook over data privacy

DC attorney general sues Facebook over data privacy

The Washington D.C. attorney general has filed a lawsuit suing Facebook for allowing political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica to gain access to personal data of tens of millions of the site's users without permission. The Washington Post reports that this is "the first major effort" by U.S. regulators to punish Facebook over its involvement with the British political consulting firm, which was allowed to gain access to personal data of millions of the social network's users without their permission.

Also in March, the Federal Trade Commission took the unusual step of announcing that it had opened an investigation into whether the company had violated a 2011 consent decree, citing media reports that raise what it called "substantial concerns about the privacy practices of Facebook".

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday by Karl Racine, the attorney general for the District of Columbia. On Friday, for example, the company admitted that some users' photos may have been improperly accessed by third-party apps.

The lawsuit comes as Facebook continues to face criticism around the world for mismanaging its users' personal information.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said on Tuesday the social media giant is committed to protecting the civil rights of its users, following a report that found Russian-backed actors largely targeted black users' data in hopes of influencing the 2016 presidential election. The organization criticized Facebook for not doing enough to protect the data of its African-American users.




Facebook is having an incredibly hard year, rife with controversy and accusations of improper behavior. Facebook also reportedly allowed Spotify, Netflix and the Royal Bank of Canada to read and delete users' private messages and to see all participants on a thread.

The Facebook COO said that other misinformation related to voting - including false claims of polling place closures, long lines, and wait times - is proactively sent to third-party fact-checkers for review. Facebook revealed in September that hackers had taken advantage of a piece of code allowing them to take over users' accounts.

He described Facebook's cooperation as "reasonable", but said that a lawsuit was necessary "to expedite change" at the company.

"We know we've got work to do to regain people's trust", Mr Satterfield said, while acknowledging missteps of the company over the past year.

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