Facebook has spent a lot of time in the spotlight recently, and the Attorney General’s office in Washington DC is arguing that the CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, should be forced to answer questions related to Facebook’s privacy laws.
A lawsuit was filed against Facebook by the city in 2018. Since that time, Facebook has rebranded itself to Meta Platforms, but the lawsuit remains. According to recent filings related to the lawsuit, Facebook has not taken adequate steps to provide Zuckerberg for deposition even though a District of Columbia Superior Court judge has allowed for Zuckerburg to be questioned pursuant to an order issued on January 10th.
In contrast, lawyers for Zuckerburg have asked the judge to block Zuckerberg’s deposition. The request was filed on the first of February, and it claims that he has no unique information to offer. The request further alleges that the deposition is a transparent attempt to harass the CEO.
Ultimately, this latest battle in the lawsuit is a representation of the greater issue that the lawsuit addresses. Currently, there is an “apex doctrine” in place, which states that high-level executives could be shielded from certain elements of a lawsuit if they did not have direct control of the information directly addressed in the lawsuit. It appears that Zuckerburg’s lawyers are trying to use this very doctrine in an effort to save him from having to answer questions under oath.
The original element of the lawsuit accuses Facebook, which now goes by the name Meta, of misleading its users about who had access to certain pieces of personal data. In 2018, the popular technology company came under fire because a consulting firm based in the United Kingdom, Cambridge Analytica, deceived consumers about the information that it was collecting from the users on the social network.
Attorneys representing Washington DC state that they want to talk to Mark Zuckerberg to learn more about what he knew about the actions taken by Cambridge Analytica, steps the company takes to figure out what its partners and users are doing, and what actions (or inaction) the company took to prevent information of its private users from being stolen. It will be interesting to see if Mark Zuckerberg ever has to answer questions under oath.