The attorney general for Washington D.C. has filed a lawsuit against Facebook, alleging that the social media platform gave Cambridge Analytica access to users’ private information without their consent.
Karl Racine claims that Facebook’s involvement with Cambridge Analytica exposed almost half of all District residents’ personal data to privacy and security risks. He says that the social media platform deceived users about the security of their data, made it complicated for them to control their privacy settings and didn’t notify them immediately when they found out Cambridge Analytica improperly received their personal information.
Facebook’s issues with Cambridge Analytica were revealed in March after a whistleblower, Christopher Wylie, disclosed that the political firm had plans to create “psychographic” profiles about social media users and send them messages that preyed on their hopes and fears.
In 2014, the political firm allowed researcher Aleksandr Kogan to launch quiz app, which put together information on people who used it as well as their friends. This information included names, home towns, friends lists and religious backgrounds.
“The vast majority of these Facebook friends never installed the App, never affirmatively consented to supplying the App with their data, and never knew the App had collected their data,” the lawsuit said.
“Kogan provided Cambridge Analytica with the personal data and derivative data of the approximately 70 million United State Facebook consumers whose data was harvested, which included almost half of all D.C. residents,” the lawsuit added.
Racine seeks “monetary and injunctive relief, including relief for harmed consumers, damages, and penalties to the District” from the lawsuit.
When questioned about the lawsuit, Facebook said that it’s “reviewing the complaint and looks forward to continuing our discussions with attorneys general in D.C. and elsewhere.”