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Washington, DC Sues Facebook

It's the first big effort in the US to penalize Facebook over Cambridge Analytica controversy
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2018 3:32 PM CST
This July 16, 2013 file photo shows a sign at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.   (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

(Newser) – More trouble for Facebook related to its Cambridge Analytica data scandal: The Washington, DC, attorney general is suing the social media company. The Washington Post reports that this is "the first major effort" by US regulators to punish Facebook over its involvement with the British political consulting firm, which was allowed to gain access to personal data of millions of the social network's users without their permission. But the lawsuit also calls out other business practices like Facebook allowing certain companies to "override" a user's privacy settings in order to access data, CNBC reports. DC is seeking an injunction to "ensure Facebook puts in place protocols and safeguards to monitor users’ data," plus "restitution for consumers, penalties, and costs," per the suit.

Facebook is facing increasing scrutiny for its management of user data; in the past two weeks alone, it's been the subject of multiple exposés about how it allows certain companies to access data, announced a glitch exposing the photos of millions of users, lost a big name in tech, and continued to make headlines for its role in Russia's 2016 US election interference. A federal investigation involving the SEC, the FTC, and the Justice Department is underway over the 2014 Cambridge Analytica data scandal, which was revealed in March; UK regulators are also working to fine Facebook over the controversy. DC's attorney general says his office has "had discussions with a number of other states that are similarly interested in protecting the data and personal information of their consumers." (Read more Facebook stories.)

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