Karl A. Racine, Attorney General of the District of Columbia, on Monday sued Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, accusing him of being personally responsible for decisions that enabled the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the personal data of over 87 million Facebook users was harvested without their consent.
The lawsuit argues that Zuckerberg was “personally aware” but “actively disregarded” the potential harms that could result from sharing consumers’ data with third-party apps.
The suit is the latest effort by Racine and other state Attorneys General to take a tougher line against tech companies over misleading privacy practices. It also makes clear that corporate leaders may face increasing personal liability for privacy violations. “This lawsuit is not only warranted, but necessary, and sends a message that corporate leaders, including CEOs, will be held accountable for their actions,” Racine said in a statement.
While it remains to be seen how this new lawsuit will play out, the claims against Zuckerberg serve as an important reminder that, especially when privacy and data protection pose business-critical risks, corporate executives must undertake good-faith efforts to ensure that reasonable data governance systems and controls and procedures are in place.
For more information on the suit, please visit this page.