The Attorney General of the District of Columbia Carl Racine announces a civil lawsuit against the extremist groups Proud Boys and Oath Keepers for the deadly attack on the US Capitol on January 6 at the Capitol in Washington on December 14, 2021.

Jonathan Ernst Reuters

Columbia Attorney General Carl Racine is suing Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg for his alleged role in the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal.

The new lawsuit, filed Monday, alleges that Zuckerberg was closely involved in devising and implementing a framework for Facebook that ultimately allowed Cambridge Analytica to collect user data without consent and that the CEO had the ability to monitor day-to-day operations.

“This unprecedented security breach has revealed tens of millions of Americans’ personal information, and Mr. Zuckerberg’s policies have allowed years of efforts to mislead users about the extent of Facebook’s illegal actions,” Racine said in a press release announcing the new lawsuit. “This lawsuit is not only justified but necessary, and it shows that corporate leaders, including CEOs, will be held accountable for their actions.”

The lawsuit comes after a judge dismissed Racine’s attempt to join Zuckerberg as a defendant in his initial consumer complaint against the company, which owns Facebook. Then Racine’s office said it was the first time a U.S. regulator had named Zuckerberg in a complaint.

During a hearing in March, a judge raised the question of how much time Racine’s office used to join Zuckerberg as a defendant, and argued that it would not add value to DC consumers. The judge said the time of the move “smells almost unscrupulous.”

This initial lawsuit against the company is still ongoing and claims that Facebook violated the DC Consumer Protection Act by misleading users and failing to protect their data in the run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. At the time, political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica used Facebook’s third-party access to gather information about users without their consent.

In an interview with CNBC shortly after rejecting his attempt to add Zuckerberg to the complaint, Racine said his office needed extra time from the start date of the lawsuit to gather evidence from the company and become confident that the CEO should be personally responsible. for alleged violations of consumer rights. He said Facebook’s slow disclosure of evidence has extended the time it takes his office to conclude that he has the necessary information for Zuckerberg’s immediate name.

Racine told CNBC at the time that he was considering filing a separate lawsuit against Zuckerberg, “because we believe the evidence shows that Mr. Zuckerberg was closely involved in distorting user privacy.”

A Meta spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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