Facebook Faces Lawsuit Over Cambridge Analytica Scandal

Facebook once again is in the news over a lawsuit filed against it for the Cambridge Analyica scandal.

The story about Facebook and Cambridge Analyitica broke clear back in March. The story involved the data mining practices of Cambridge Analytica to help various organizations and political entities win key political battles. While many outlets still mistakenly call this a data breach, it did help put privacy into perspective.

Still, despite accuracy issues in the media, the story gained international headlines. It even caused Facebook executives to appear before politicians for questioning. At the same time, offices even got raided by authorities in response to the scandal. By May, Cambridge Analyitca shut down and declared bankruptcy. As some point out, some people behind Cambridge Analyitica wound up forming a new company under a different name.

While it seemed that the story would finally die out, the story got revived thanks to a recently filed lawsuit by the DC attorney general. From CNN:

Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine is suing Facebook, accusing the social media giant of wide-ranging privacy violations.

“Facebook’s consumers reasonably expect that Facebook will take appropriate steps to maintain and protect their data,” the lawsuit, which was announced on Wednesday, says. “Facebook tells them as much, promising that it requires applications to respect a Facebook consumer’s privacy. Facebook has failed to live up to this commitment.”

The suit, which was filed in DC Superior Court, invoked Facebook’s relationship with Cambridge Analytica, a firm linked to President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. The suit says revelations earlier this year about user info collected by Cambridge Analytica reflected a failure on Facebook’s behalf to protect user privacy and to follow DC’s own consumer protection rules.

DC, in its lawsuit, said it wanted to compel Facebook to take steps to avoid violating its consumer protection rules in the future, as well as pay restitution.

If anything, this shows that the fallout from this one particular privacy case is still ongoing. It’s clear that even though Cambridge Analytica seems to have faded somewhat from the headlines and the original company is officially gone, Facebook itself is not out of the woods yet over this particular scandal.

Of course, it’s worth pointing out that this one case alone won’t likely sink the company. After all, Facebook is a publicly traded company, so it obviously can afford expensive legal protection. The question is, though, whether it can survive a multitude of issues it has been hit with in the last several months. Take, for instance, the story that broke in October where European regulators find themselves investigating another data breach. The breach itself saw 50 million accounts compromised. Some speculated that the social media platform could face a $1.63 billion fine in Europe. Meanwhile in the US, Facebook faced a class action lawsuit over that breach.

Some might wonder if the company is hit with enough scandals, lawsuits, and fines, that maybe the company could face death by a thousand cuts. A single hit not at all fatal, but with enough hits, sooner or later, the company could find itself in gradually more and more trouble.

At the very least, the company is still in the privacy spotlight and probably will continue to be for some time now.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.



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