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.