Facebook was sued Tuesday in a class-action lawsuit in federal court, alleging the social media company failed to protect the personal information of 70.6 million users in the U.S. and over one million in the United Kingdom.
Others sued in the action, in U.S. District Court in Delaware, included Cambridge Analytica, SCL Group Ltd. and Global Science Research Ltd., which “obtained the Facebook user data to develop and foster political propaganda campaigns,” according to the lawsuit.
Also named in the suit was Aleksandr Kogan, an academic and Global Science Research founding director.
The lawsuit was filed hours before Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized to the Senate Judiciary Committee for not preventing Cambridge Analytica, which was affiliated with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, from gathering private data on as many as 87 million users.
“Facebook has made billions of dollars selling advertisements targeted to its customers, and in this instance made millions selling advertisements to political campaigns that developed those very ads on the back of their customers’ own stolen personal information,” attorney Richard Fields said.
“That’s unacceptable, and they must be held accountable.”
Another lawyer in the case, Jason McCue, said “the defendants effectively abused the human right to privacy of ordinary Facebook users.
“If that were not enough,” he continued, “then the fruits of that abuse are alleged to have undermined the democratic process.
“This case will go some way to ensure that neither of these things can happen in the future,” McCue said.
According to the lawsuit, Facebook knowingly built its platform to allow Kogan and other third parties to obtain data through an app on the site, to “steal users’ personal information.”
It also alleged Facebook failed to notify users — doing so only after news reports disclosed the breach — and did not ensure the stolen data was destroyed.
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