The attorney general for the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit against Facebook on Wednesday for allowing political data firm Cambridge Analytica to access profile information on millions of users.
“Facebook failed to protect the privacy of its users and deceived them about who had access to their data and how it was used,” D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine said in a statement. “Facebook put users at risk of manipulation by allowing companies like Cambridge Analytica and other third-party applications to collect personal data without users’ permission. Today’s lawsuit is about making Facebook live up to its promise to protect its users’ privacy.”
Facebook admitted in April that up to 87 million users had their profiles harvested by Cambridge Analytica in 2014. The firm used the lifted data — including user location and education history — to target voters with crafted ad campaigns. The firm was contracted by President Trump’s campaign in 2016.
“We’re reviewing the complaint and look forward to continuing our discussions with attorneys general in DC and elsewhere,” a Facebook spokesperson told TheWrap.
Racine said the data leak exposed the digital information of about half of D.C. residents. The lawsuit is seeking an injunction to “ensure Facebook puts in place protocols and safeguards to monitor users’ data.”
The timing couldn’t be worse for Facebook, as the company is grappling with the fallout of a Tuesday report from The New York Times that revealed the platform gave several companies, including Netflix and Spotify, special access to private user messages.
Facebook’s stock price is down 6.3 percent on Wednesday to $134 per share.