DC Attorney General adds Mark Zuckerberg as defendant in Facebook privacy lawsuit

District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine on Wednesday announced the addition of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as a defendant to an existing lawsuit over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where the data firm harvested information from as many as 87 million individuals without their knowledge.

In 2018, AG Racine brought suit against Facebook alleging misrepresentation of its policies around third-party data access and compromising user privacy with deceptive trade practices under the District of Columbia’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act (CPPA). Despite Facebook’s efforts to dismiss the case in 2019, a District judge allowed the civil suit to proceed.

After reviewing “hundreds of thousands of pages of documents produced in litigation and [completing] a wide range of depositions including former employees and whistleblowers,” AG Racine added Zuckerberg to the lawsuit on Wednesday. Within the CPPA there is a provision stating, “individuals are liable for actions of a company if they were aware of them at the time.” AG Racine did not specify to what extend Zuckerberg was aware of the scandal and only stated Zuckerberg was “personally involved” in Cambridge Anayltica’s collection of user data.

AG Racine concluded his message by stating, “This lawsuit is about protecting the data of half of all District residents and tens of millions of people across the country. We’ve taken our obligation to investigate wrongdoing very seriously—and Facebook should take its responsibility to protect users just as seriously.”