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Mark Zuckerberg sued over Cambridge Analytica data breach, D.C. says

Mark Zuckerberg testified before a House committee in 2019.PETE MAROVICH/NYT

The District of Columbia said it sued Meta Platforms Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg for his alleged role in the data breach that allowed political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to target Facebook users during the 2016 presidential election.

A “sweeping investigation” revealed that Zuckerberg contributed to lax oversight of user data and the creation of misleading privacy agreements that resulted in Cambridge Analytica and other third parties getting their hands on the personal information of 87 million Americans, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine said in a statement on Monday.

Cambridge Analytica was hired by then-candidate Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign against Hillary Clinton. Racine called it “the largest consumer privacy scandal in the nation’s history.”

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The lawsuit mirrors an earlier suit Racine filed against Facebook in 2018, though the judge overseeing that case rejected the Democratic attorney general’s attempt to add Zuckerberg as a defendant earlier this year, saying he’d waited too long.

“We continue to persist and have followed the evidence right to Mr. Zuckerberg,” Racine said in the statement. “The evidence shows Mr. Zuckerberg was personally involved in Facebook’s failure to protect the privacy and data of its users leading directly to the Cambridge Analytica incident.

Meta didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment. The company has previously derided Racine’s claims as “little more than a broadside against Facebook’s business model.”

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