Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg must testify in a federal lawsuit over sharing user data with Cambridge Analytica. Zuckerberg is questioned for six hours, Sandberg has to answer questions from the opposing team for five hours. Meta’s lawyers call it a “transparent attempt at intimidation.”
That reports Reuters news agency.
Facebook punished for Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal
The case, brought by a Washington DC law firm, revolves around the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal. The now-defunct British company collected personal data from more than 87 million American Facebook users in 2014. Cambridge Analytica had not asked for permission to do so. Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump used this data in the 2016 presidential election to offer targeted advertisements and commercials.
Facebook has been punished for this by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In July 2019, the American regulator fined the platform 5 billion dollars for this privacy violation. She blamed Facebook for failing to protect users’ privacy and personal information.
Zuckerberg was personally exonerated by the FTC at the time. However, he had to promise that he would better protect the privacy of his users in the future. He was instructed to prepare a quarterly report on what he had done to achieve this.
‘Critising Facebook’s business model’
The story did not end there. In 2018, Attorney General Karl Racine filed a lawsuit against Zuckerberg for his part in the privacy scandal with Cambridge Analytica. He called the case “the biggest consumer privacy scandal in the country’s history”.
The judge accused Racine of acting “almost in bad faith”. “You want to change this from a Facebook case to a Mr. Zuckerberg case. What value does it add to call him by name?” the judge asked during a hearing last March.
Meta said Racine’s allegations were nothing more than an attempt to “criticize Facebook’s business model”.
Zuckerberg is interrogated for hours
In addition to Racine’s trajectory, there is another case against Meta. Attorneys for the plaintiffs who filed a mass claim want Zuckerberg to pay $854,000 for his part in the privacy scandal. According to Meta’s lawyers, it is nothing more than a “transparent attempt at intimidation”.
The general manager and his right-hand man Sheryl Sandberg will soon have to report to the San Francisco court to give explanations. The attorneys for the prosecutors and Meta have agreed that Zuckerberg can be questioned for six hours. Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Meta, is being asked questions for five hours. The prosecutors’ lawyers are allowed to challenge Javier Olivan, the man who will replace Sandberg in the near future, for three hours.
According to court documents, various arrangements were made between now and September 20 to give witness statements.
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