Archive for Facebook

Questions about whether Mark Zuckerburg will have to Answer Questions under Oath

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.

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg To Be Added to a Consumer Privacy Violations Lawsuit

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, has been included in a consumer privacy violations lawsuit following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. This is the first time the Facebook CEO has been targeted individually by a US regulator, with a previous lawsuit by Attorney General Karl A Racine filed against the social media giant in 2018 on the grounds of unfair and deceptive practices.

According to Racine, internal documents and interviews from former Facebook employees have shown that Zuckerberg was aware of the collection of user data by Cambridge Analytica and knowingly participated in the misrepresentation of data security. Following this, both the company and Zuckerberg could pay millions of dollars in restrictions and damages to victims if found guilty. In addition to this, they could also pay attorney fees and civil penalties.

Racine’s complaint further states that Zuckerberg misled government officials and the public about Facebook’s role in the data breach. With these facts in mind, Zuckerberg should be held accountable for the deceptive trade practices of the company, according to Racine. As a major shareholder with more than half of the voting shares, Zuckerberg’s influence contributes majorly to how the company is run and what activities Facebook participates in. This includes giving third parties access to user data that Cambridge Analytica may have used to target users ahead of the 2016 US election. Following his mention in the lawsuit, Zuckerberg has vowed to take responsibility for the scandal. Facebook’s legal defense has also come out to state that they will continue to defend themselves while focusing on the facts at hand. The company also termed the allegations as meritless, just as they were when the initial lawsuit was filed. While Cambridge Analytica was suspended from Facebook for accessing consumer data, the social media giant still faced a $5 billion settlement in 2019 following the scandal that later stretched out to other security concerns.

As the company continually faces scrutiny over its privacy safeguards and related matters such as public health, democracy, and polarization, it may soon bid farewell to its name as it attempts to rebuild its new ambitions. This may see it get into new markets, with Zuckerberg’s desire to invest in the metaverse signaling a new era of broadened tech dominance.

Sex Trafficking Using Facebook Sets Off a Lawyer’s Unique Argument

Tech companies have avoided a lot of legal consequences, due to a 1996 law that protects them from lawsuits. However, Houston personal injury attorney Annie McAdams is hoping to change all of this.

McAdams is starting a legal fight against Facebook and similar tech companies and accusing them of helping facilitate the sex trafficking of minors. In a series of different lawsuits in Texas, Missouri, Georgia, and California, McAdams is using this new argument to fight the law and is finding some success early on. This year, a judge in Texas has denied Facebook’s attempts to dismiss the lawsuits.

This law says in Section 230 that Internet companies, just like Facebook, aren’t liable for what users post. McAdams’s argument is that in the case of pimps using social media in order to lure children into prostitution, there should be separate laws that require the tech companies to warn users of the risk and do more in order to prevent it. She says that there isn’t another industry that has the luxury of protection and isn’t held accountable for anything they have caused.

McAdams’s lawsuits are also part of a boarder effort to use the courts to end this law that governs the Internet. This law has been debated on the campaign trail and in Washington but there isn’t legislation that is expected anytime soon in order to weaken it. Instead, there are lawyers that are pushing ahead with lawsuits in order to challenge the protection of Internet companies. In the years past, the rulings have actually strengthened the law but now the cracks are beginning to show. For example, in 2016, a federal appeals court ruled that the law didn’t protect a modeling website that was used by two men to lure women they subsequently drugged and sexually assaulted. It was ruled that the site’s owners knew of this threat and failed to warn women.

Facebook has asked a judge in Houston to dismiss two of McAdams’s lawsuits due to the immunity offered under Section 230. However, the judged denied the motions. Facebook then responded to this decision with a 50-page petition. The approach of McAdams could prove significant and if the Texas rulings hold up, it could persuade other judges and even draw the Supreme Court to weigh in.

San Bernardino attack Victims Sue Google, Facebook, Twitter over aiding Terrorism

Family members of the San Bernardino attack victims are suing Twitter, Facebook and Google accusing them of providing platforms that aid terrorists. The lawsuit filed on behalf of families of three of the victims of the December 2nd attack mirrors similar suits filed in cases involving terror attacks in Orlando and Dallas. The Lawsuit filed in a Los Angeles’ Federal court accuses the 3 tech giants of aiding and supporting terrorism by providing material support to these groups and are liable for the death of several victims of the December 2, 2015, attack.

The ISIS supposedly inspired Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook, the couple that carried out the attack. According to authorities, Malik had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State Group on her Facebook page around the shooting time, which wounded 22 people.

The same law firm filing this suit has sued the same companies severally, with some of their lawsuits being dismissed because federal laws shield online providers from taking responsibility for the content posted by their users.

The lawsuit claims that without YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, the tremendous growth of the Islamic State Group would not have been remotely possible. It also claims the tech giants are liable for aiding & abetting acts of terrorism as well as providing support to designated foreign terror groups.

The law filed against the tech giants was on behalf of Tin Nguyen, Nicholas Thalasinos, and Sierra Clayborn, who were among the 14 killed by the terrorist duo of Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook. On Dec. 2nd, the couple targeted a Christmas party in San Bernardino that left 14 people dead and 22 others injured.

Currently, Facebook and Twitter claim to be doing everything in their power to prevent such instances where terror groups use their sites. All three companies have expressed their sympathy to the victims of the unfortunate event, and they have stated that they are not liable for the terror attack. They also argued that the families of the victims relied on a speculative chain of events to blame the tech giants for gunmen’s self-radicalization.

The companies further stated that accepting such claims would expose online platforms to possible liability for every terrorist attack in the world. Simply because the terrorist are affiliated with the online platforms does not mean that they supported the terror attack.

Shortly after the attack, James Comey-FBI Director- said that there was connected to a larger terror network although there were signs foreign terrorist organizations inspired them. Comey also said that the internet allows the opportunity for users to consume information and radicalizes.

Investigators also uncovered private messages sent by Malik to a Facebook group of Pakistani friends, pledging her support for Islamic Jihads and expressed her desire to join their fight. On the day before the shooting, Malik used Facebook to pledge her allegiance to ISIS. Facebook stated that they saw they post and alerted the FBI before they took it down.