Facebook, Cambridge Analytica face yet another lawsuit
The suit, filed on behalf of Facebook users in the US and the UK, alleges the companies misused personal data from more than 71 million people.
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Abrar Al-Heeti is a video host and producer for CNET, with an interest in internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. Before joining the video team, she was a writer for CNET's culture team. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
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Facebook was hit with another lawsuit over data misuse on Tuesday.
Lawyers in the US and the UK filed the suit in the US District Court in Delaware against Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and two other companies. The suit alleges the companies misused personal data from more than 71 million people to develop "political propaganda campaigns" in both countries.
The lawsuit alleges Facebook failed to protect the personal information -- including names, phone numbers, email and mail addresses, and political and religious affiliations -- of 70.6 American and 1 million British users of the social network. The data was used in the June 2016 UK "Brexit" Referendum and then during the 2016 US presidential election, the lawsuit says.
The suit also names SCL Group Limited, Cambridge Analytica's parent company, as well as Global Science Research Limited (GSR), the company that collected the data through a personality quiz app. It also names GSR founder Aleksandr Kogan, a Cambridge University lecturer.
"Facebook utterly failed in its duty and promise to secure the personal information of millions of its users, and, when aware that this stolen information was aimed against its owners, it failed to take appropriate action," said Robert Ruyak, co-lead counsel in the class action suit, in a statement. "Facebook must be held responsible for failing to protect its users' personal information."
The suit names seven individual plaintiffs -- five American and two British -- who are all Facebook users. The suit says this information was used "to accomplish Cambridge Analytica's driving principle: to build psychological profiles of voters to affect election results in the UK and the US," according to the release.
Tuesday's suit, which seeks class action status, comes a day after law firm Hagens Berman filed another lawsuit against Facebook for failing to protect consumer data. That followed a similar case last month alleging Facebook and Cambridge Analytica violated California's unfair competition law. Attorneys on both cases are seeking class action status.