A Delaware judge on Wednesday rejected Facebook’s bid to dismiss a lawsuit brought by shareholders over the company’s alleged failures to protect the privacy of users’ data, according to The Associated Press.
Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster found that it would have been futile for the shareholders in the case to first bring the issue to Facebook’s board of directors — a move typically required under Delaware law — as it seems doubtful that the board would have been willing to confront CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the AP reported.
“It tells a story of directors who were on notice of the law breaking, and who either affirmatively went along with it or consciously disregarded it,” Laster said of the shareholders’ complaint, according to the AP.
“What we don’t have is a little lawbreaking, what we don’t have is isolated lawbreaking, what we don’t have are immaterial violations. … This is a case involving alleged wrongdoing on a truly colossal scale,” he added.
The shareholders’ lawsuit is part of the ongoing fallout from the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal. Cambridge Analytica, a British consulting firm, harvested data from Facebook users that was ultimately used to assist former President Trump’s 2016 campaign.
The complaint accuses Facebook of violating a previous consent agreement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to stop collecting and sharing users’ data without their consent, the AP reported.
The company settled similar charges with the FTC in 2019, agreeing to pay a $5 billion penalty. Facebook’s parent company Meta also reached a tentative agreement in March to pay $725 million to settle a class action lawsuit brought by Facebook users.
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