It was only a matter of time that a backlash would occur against one of the largest social media networks. This time, it was because of breach of trust issues. It was the Presidential campaign of Donald Trump that saw the retention of private data of 50 million Facebook users, despite their attempts at claiming to have deleted it. The most recent case has been filed in Cook County, Illinois. That claim included allegations similar to the other pending lawsuits against Facebook that will be tried in the federal court. In the complaint, an argument is made that Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, and its corporate parent, SCL Group, violated users’ privacy when they violated Illinois laws against fraud. In their response, Mark Zuckerburg and other Facebook executives called their actions a “breach of trust.”
The public at large was concerned about the mass data collection encouraged by Facebook, which assisted developers to build on the platform and provide greater insight into market manipulation and user behavior. It was clearly written in the complaint that, “Facebook is not a social media company; it is the largest data-mining operation in existence.” On top of that, Cook County is the second-largest county in the USA, behind Los Angeles County. For that reason, from an international perspective, the case also has the ability to garner a high level of interest. It must be noted that this suit is not the first of technology-based lawsuits when it comes to privacy.
The fact of the matter is simply this: knowledge of your data can make millions, and this is exactly what Facebook did. Users of Facebook feel violated enough to go ahead and file suit. Members whose information was collected by Cambridge Analytica, the same firm that worked closely with the Trump campaign. Facebook had known about the security breaches and did nothing to protect its users is what is alleged in the complaint. Users also have a higher risk of identity theft as a result. At the very least, Facebook acted negligently. Moreover, it is not just members of Facebook that are filing. Investors have also come on board, in the making of “misleading statements” and they failed to disclose details about party access to data which is the reason why Facebook stocks have fallen. The officers of Facebook owed a fiduciary duty to investors to deal truthfully and honestly with them. Because of the global reach, it is likely that more venues and jurisdictions will be involved. Out of all, the most direct liability is against Cambridge Analytica. They have violated city, state and Federal laws. The reputation of both companies is at stake as well. Continue reading