California Takes Facebook To Court Over Privacy Probe

Jeffrey Schaub
November 06, 2019 - 4:12 pm
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has sued the Trump Administration nearly 40 times and claims the legal battles are having a positive impact.

JC Olivera/Sipa USA

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra says he is taking Facebook to court.

Becerra filed a petition in San Francisco Superior Court on Wednesday asking the court to compel Facebook to comply with subpoenas as part of the state Department of Justice’s investigation into how the company manages user data.

The DOJ issued its first subpoena in the case in June of 2018, asking Facebook to produce documents relating to Cambridge Analytica, a consulting firm that gathered personal data from 87 million Facebook users. 

“Facebook moved slowly to respond to the subpoena,” said Becerra, “taking over a year to complete its search for and production of requested documents.”

Becerra says the company’s response to a second subpoena issued in June of 2019 was even worse, calling it “patently inadequate.”

“It provided no answers to 19 out of 27 written interrogatories, provided a partial response to six, and produced no documents in response to six document requests," he said. 

Becerra said it is crucial that his office is able to complete their investigation as Facebook has personal data from millions of Americans.  

“We have since spring of 2018 been looking into allegations that Facebook violated California law by, among other things, deceiving users and misrepresenting its privacy practices,” said Becerra. “Those are serious allegations when you consider the personal information that we all supply to Facebook every single day. Facebook knows some of the most intimate details of our lives”

In a statement, Facebook says it has co-operated extensively with the DOJ's investigation. Facebook Vice President of State and Local Policy Will Castleberry says, "To date we have provided thousands of pages of written responses and hundreds of thousands of documents.”