Facebook isn't cooperating with privacy probe, California AG says

California's attorney general is now asking a court to force the social media giant to comply with a subpoena issued back in June.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

California's attorney general is asking a court to force Facebook to comply with a subpoena and answer questions related to the company's user privacy policies and practices. Facebook has so far failed to comply with the subpoena, which state Attorney General Xavier Becerra issued on June 17. The responses the state has received so far to its questions are "patently inadequate," Becerra said in a statement. 

Becerra's petition was filed with the San Francisco Superior Court.

In a statement provided to ZDNet, Facebook's VP of state and local policy Will Castleberry said the company has "cooperated extensively" with the investigation. "To date we have provided thousands of pages of written responses and hundreds of thousands of documents," he said. 

The attorney general has been probing Facebook's privacy practices since at least June 2018, when he issued an investigative subpoena requiring the company to produce documents related to, among other things, its relationship with Cambridge Analytica (the London-based firm that mishandled data culled from tens of millions of Facebook profile).

Facebook took more than a year to produce the requested documents. 

Then on June 17, 2019, Becerra served a second subpoena and a set of interrogatories requesting additional information related to alleged user privacy violations. Facebook failed to answer 19 out of the 27 questions, provided a partial response to six and failed to respond to six document requests, Becerra's office says. 

"The responses we have received to date are patently inadequate," Becerra said in a statement. "Our work must move forward. We are left with little choice but to seek a court order compelling Facebook to faithfully comply with our duly authorized subpoenas."

Becerrra's complaint comes just a day after Facebook revealed another privacy breach, this one giving roughly 100 developers inappropriate access to user data.

In July this year, Facebook settled with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in an agreement worth $5 billion to lay to rest allegations of user privacy failures in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. 

Updated at 12:46pm AEST, 7 November 2019: fixed spelling error


Editorial standards