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Local official sues Facebook over data misuse

Local official sues Facebook over data misuse

The scandal stems from the use of Facebook user data by the British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, which has been accused of using that data to target voters during President Donald Trump's winning 2016 presidential campaign.

But DC's filing specifically mentioned the 340,000 District of Columbia residents exposed.

The top legal officer in the U.S. capital city has sued Facebook over privacy violations related to personal data leaked to the Cambridge Analytica consultancy working on Donald Trump's 2016 campaign.

District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine is suing Facebook. It also alleges that Facebook was aware in 2014 that the developer wanted to download the information about users' friends but "failed to monitor or audit the app".

The scandal turned the spotlight on Facebook and prompted mass criticism of how the company deals with user data and other privacy issues.

In the lawsuit, Racine points out that just 852 Facebook users in DC used Aleksandr Kogan's "thisisyourdigitallife" personality quiz, but, due to the permissive data sharing that was in place at the time, hundreds of thousands of people were affected.

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Lawsuits of this type take years, however, if Facebook is found guilty, the penalties will be massive.

This person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss matters not yet public, said several states also are pursuing investigations into Facebook.

Facebook is "reviewing the complaint", a company spokesperson said in a statement, and looks "forward to continuing our discussions with attorneys general in DC and elsewhere". In addition to threatening Facebook's reputation, the suit could potentially cost the company billions.

The fallout from Cambridge Analytica, which is still ongoing, led to congressional hearings in the United States and inquiries in the United Kingdom.

"Facebook's lax oversight and confusing privacy settings put the information of millions of consumers at risk", he told reporters on Wednesday.

In that case, a software flaw affected almost seven million users, leading to their photos being exposed to a much wider audience than they had intended.