Meta Platforms Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg and former directors of the company are under scrutiny once again, as a Delaware judge has allowed investors to proceed with their allegations of lax privacy oversight. This comes months after Meta agreed to pay $725 million to settle investors’ claims in California related to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Cambridge Analytica Scandal and Lawsuit Settlement
The scandal began with a revelation in 2018 that Facebook was involved in dealing with Cambridge Analytica, a consulting firm hired by former US President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Cambridge Analytica obtained the personal data of millions of Facebook users via a third-party quiz app, which not only collected data from its users but also from their friends, impacting millions of consumers. This led to a government investigation, which resulted in Facebook officials paying a $5 billion fine to the US government.
Months after this settlement, a Delaware judge has now ruled that investors can proceed with lawsuits against Zuckerberg and former Facebook directors. The allegations include that they turned a blind eye to widespread privacy violations, particularly in relation to the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
Judge Laster’s Ruling in the Delaware Chancery Court
In a ruling on Wednesday, Delaware Chancery Court Judge Travis Laster cited alleged conflicts of interest and concluded that Facebook’s board could not be relied upon to investigate allegations of repeated breaches of users’ privacy. Furthermore, he said that the directors “affirmatively went along with” the behavior or chose to ignore it, despite several red flags.
Investors are alleging that Zuckerberg and the former directors did not do enough to prevent improper use of user data, despite knowing about the dangers of third-party app developers. The judge’s ruling means that the investors’ lawsuits can now be heard, and the accused will have to face allegations of lax privacy oversight.