DC sues Facebook over Cambridge Analytica scandal

DC sues Facebook over Cambridge Analytica scandal

A "whistleblower" at the consultancy said it used Facebook data to develop profiles of users who were targeted with personalized messages that could have played on their fears.

The lawsuit by the District of Columbia attorney general is likely the first by an official U.S. body that could impose consequences on the leading social network for the data misuse.

District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine filed the lawsuit on Wednesday, said the Washington Post.

In total, the effort allowed Cambridge Analytica to harvest insights on more than 87 million users around the world, including 71 million Americans, Facebook previously revealed.

The US capital is suing the website founded by Mark Zuckerberg after Cambridge University's Aleksandr Kogan and his company, Global Science Research (GSR), launched an app called "thisisyourdigitallife" and sold personal information of users to a political consulting firm.

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The lawsuit alleges that Facebook was aware in 2014 that the third-party app developer wanted to download the information about users" friends but "failed to monitor or audit the app'.

Their investigation found that Facebook violated the District's Consumer Protection Procedures Act (CPPA), which "prohibits unfair and deceptive trade practices".

The lawsuit comes as Facebook faces new reports that it shared its users' data without their permission. Meanwhile, lawmakers and regulators have been under pressure to take action against the tech giant.

The firm used a benign-looking quiz app to gather information on Facebook users and their friends, including names, locations, religious and political affiliations and educational backgrounds.

The scandal has triggered a series of investigations and broad review by Facebook on how it shares user data with third parties.

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"We're seeking to hold Facebook accountable for jeopardizing and exposing the personal information of tens of millions of its users", Racine said. The Facebook CEO was worth around $75 billion at the beginning of the year, but his net worth was recorded at $56 billion on Monday.

The fallout from Cambridge Analytica, which is still ongoing, led to congressional hearings in the United States and inquiries in the United Kingdom.

Facebook has reportedly already produced "reams of documents" in response to the attorney general's investigation, officials said.

With each breakdown, Facebook risks losing credibility with both its audience and the advertisers whose spending generates most of the company's revenue.

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