Attorney General for the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Facebook to allow Cambridge Analytica, a political consultant, to access the names "likes" and other personal information about millions of social users without their permission.
The lawsuit filed by Karl Racine marks the first major effort of regulators in the United States to punish tech giant for its confusion with the company. It can predict even tougher fines and other penalties that will still be for Facebook, as several state and federal investigations continue.
"Facebook failed to protect the privacy of the users and deceive those who had access to their data and how it was used," said Racine in a statement. "Today's lawsuit is about getting Facebook to live up to its promise of to protect the user's privacy. "
Facebook did not respond immediately to requests for comments. The company's stock fell 3.9 percent on Wednesday morning.
Announces lawsuit, Racine said Facebook's disturbance with Cambridge Analytica had exposed almost half of all district residents' personal data to privacy and security risk. According to the region's Consumer Protection Act, the lawyer claims that Facebook misled users about the security of their data, making it difficult for users to check their privacy settings and not promptly informed them after discovering Cambridge Analytica's inaccurate access to personal information.  The lawsuit seeks an order to " ensure that Facebook sets up protocols and protections to monitor users' data, "says the law firm's office, along with" refund for consumers, penalties and costs. "
Lawsuits come as Faceb continues to face criticism around the world to abuse the user's personal information. Last week, for example, the company admitted that some user images could have been incorrectly opened by third party apps. Then, on Tuesday, new details emerged about Facebook's extensive data sharing with company partners, including Amazon and Spotify. The New York Times report quickly triggered another round of calls from Capitol Hill for the technology giant to be punished.
For this purpose, a person told the new DC lawsuit that it will likely be changed in the future to include recent claims about incorrect data collection and usage. This person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss matters that were not public, said that several states also pursue investigations on Facebook.
Facebook's problems with Cambridge Analytica were revealed in March after a whistleblower, Christopher Wylie, revealed that The Political Firm sought to create "psychographic" profiles about social media users and target them with messages that preyed on their hopes and fears. Before it was terminated, Cambridge Analytica had for some time been run by Steve Bannon, who was the company's vice president and later served as top secretary for President Trump.
Cambridge Analytica used data collected by a quiz app in 2014, collecting information about those who used it, as well as their friends, who numbered in hundreds for many users. These data contained names, hometowns, religious and educational backgrounds, friend lists and other data, researchers said at that time. Overall, the efforts made by Cambridge Analytica to boost input of more than 87 million users around the world, including 71 million Americans, Facebook, as previously revealed.
The revelation released a unique global review of Facebook's privacy practices and a wave of surveys, including the United States, where Facebook is now facing severe fines
The federal investigation involving the Security and Exchange Commission, the Federal Trade Commission and the Ministry of Justice has been several months, and partly focuses on whether Facebook's representations to investors regarding the Cambridge Analytica scandal have been full and accurate. The FTC also investigates Facebook's relationship with Cambridge Analytica – and its handling of users data – breach of a 2011 agreement that was authorized by the agency that demanded the tech giant to improve its privacy practices.
Regulators in the UK announced earlier this year they will punish Facebook – a fine of $ 625,000 – but the company has sued it in court. Earlier, Facebook has refused to make its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, available to witness in front of UK legislators and eight other countries who are still concerned about the Cambridge Analytica controversy.