Calif. Suing Facebook Seeking Cambridge Analytica-Related Info

The State of California has filed suit against Facebook related to the Cambridge Analytica-related allegations of misuse of user data, essentially confirming its investigation into the company handling, or mishandling, of consumers' data.

Related: FTC Levies $5 Billion Facebook Fine

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra held a press conference Wednesday (Nov. 6) to announce the action and confirm the investigation.

Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission fined Facebook $5 billion over concluding that Facebook had "repeatedly used deceptive disclosures and settings to undermine users’ privacy preferences in violation of its 2012 FTC order" and "took inadequate steps to deal with apps [the Facebook Analytica part] that it knew were violating its platform policies."

Becerra said Facebook's responses to the state's legal requests for data in its ongoing investigation of the impact of that inadequate protection on California consumers have been entirely inadequate and he is asking the court to require Facebook to respond to its questions and subpoenas.

This is the first time Becerra has confirmed the 18-month investigation into Facebook, but he would not go into details of the investigation.

Becerra said they need data from subpoenas and responses to their interrogatories to find out if Facebook did anything illegal. He signaled he would not have confirmed the investigation were it not essentially confirmed by the filing of the court petition, which he said they had to do in order to get the legitimately requested information it sought.

The suit was filed in San Francisco because that is where the bulk of the investigation is taking place, according to the Becerra's office.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.