Facebook is having an incredibly difficult year, rife with controversy and accusations of improper behavior. Between selling user information to Cambridge Analytica to paying for dirt on George Soros, the company has violated consumer trust.
The social media giant is now facing a lawsuit filed by Washington DC Attorney General, Karl Racine. In addition to threatening Facebook’s reputation, the suit could potentially cost the company billions.
Racine writes, “Facebook failed to protect the privacy of its users and deceived them about who had access to their data and how it was used. Today’s lawsuit is about making Facebook live up to its promise to protect its users’ privacy.”
The suit is based on a number of recent Facebook controversies. It is informed by the Cambridge Analytica story in addition to last night’s bombshell New York Times’ report. The Times claimed that Facebook had allowed companies access to users’ private messages, a severe breach of trust.
Lawsuits of this type take years, however, if Facebook is found guilty, the penalties will be massive. Mother Jones reports, “Under the law, a company can be fined up to $5,000 per violation. According to the DC attorney general’s estimates, as many as 340,000 district residents were affected by the Cambridge Analytica incident.”
That figure is only taking into account the Cambridge Analytica breach, consequently, the private message breach can also be looked into.
Facebook’s foray into politics has already cost the company money. On Tuesday, the company was ordered to pay the State of Washington $238,000 for political ad-transparency.
It is expected that Facebook will continue to face pressure from lawmakers. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon recently said, “When companies repeatedly lie to Congress and the American people about what they do with our messages, location, likes and everything else, Congress has a duty to do something about it.”
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Todd Neikirk is a New Jersey-based politics and technology writer. His work has been featured in psfk.com, foxsports.com, and PoliticusUSA. An avid pet lover, he has been known to contribute to Pet Lifestyles Magazine. He enjoys sports, politics, technology, and spending time at the shore with his family.