Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg will be forced to testify again after a new lawsuit accusing him of violating consumer privacy laws relating to a scandal from over six years ago.
According to Gizmodo, Washington D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine sued Zuckerberg in May for his involvement in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
In the lawsuit, Racine alleged Meta, known as Facebook at the time, violated consumer privacy laws in 2015 by sharing user data with a British political consulting firm called Cambridge Analytica.
The firm used the data to lobby potential voters to support Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
Racine’s lawsuit accused Zuckerberg of “directly participating in decision-making that allowed the Cambridge Analytica data breach,” Gizmodo reported.
He alleged Zuckerberg intentionally led Meta to team up with outside firms like Cambridge Analytica and collect data that could in turn be used to influence users.
A filing from the Northern District of California indicated Zuckerberg agreed to testify for a whopping six hours in September regarding Racine’s lawsuit, Gizmodo reported.
Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg agreed to testify for five hours in the case, and the court also wants to depose many more “key witnesses.”
The filing indicated Meta agreed to produce more than 1,200 documents “previously withheld as privileged” following Racine’s latest lawsuit.
Zuckerberg has long been accused of caring more about his own personal wealth and interests than the safety of his users. If these allegations are true, they would seem to prove that notion.
When Zuckerberg testified before Congress in 2018 regarding the Cambridge Analytica scandal, his answers hardly inspired confidence.
According to The Guardian, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois asked Zuckerberg whether he would share the name of the hotel he stayed in that night. The implication was if he would not share his own private information, he should not be sharing others’ on his platform.
“No. I would probably not choose to do that publicly, here,” Zuckerberg said. “I think everyone should have control over how their information is used.”
His answer ignored the fact that Meta has repeatedly been accused of dishonestly using personal data from its users, which would mean those people did not have control over their information.
He also claimed Cambridge Analytica “wasn’t using our services in 2015” before later retracting that statement and saying the firm did start as an advertiser in 2015, but he didn’t know about it until later.
“So we could have in theory banned them then,” Zuckerberg admitted. “We made a mistake by not doing so. But I just wanted to make sure that I updated that because I … I … I misspoke, or got that wrong earlier.
“When we heard back from Cambridge Analytica that they had told us that they weren’t using the data and deleted it, we considered it a closed case. In retrospect, that was clearly a mistake. We shouldn’t have taken their word for it. We’ve updated our policy to make sure we don’t make that mistake again.”
While none of these things prove Zuckerberg is guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt, they certainly paint him in a bad light. Now it will be up to the courts to decide whether he violated the law.
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