Facebook Seeks Dismissal of District of Columbia Privacy Lawsuit

Feb. 11, 2019, 6:20 PM

Facebook Inc., acknowledging it’s under fire for its handling of users’ personal data, asked a judge in Washington to throw out D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine’s consumer-protection lawsuit.

“This is the wrong case in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and it should be dismissed,” the company’s lawyers said. Noting their client is already defending a broad-based federal lawsuit in California, and dealing with congressional hearings and public criticism, the lawyers derided Racine’s claims as “little more than a broadside against Facebook’s business model.“

Racine accused the Menlo Park, California-based company of violating the district’s consumer-protection laws by misrepresenting the extent to which Facebook protects user data and how it can be accessed without their knowledge.

The D.C. attorney general filed the lawsuit a few hours after the New York Times reported that Facebook allowed more than 150 companies to access more user data than the social network had previously disclosed. That followed revelations it had allowed Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm hired by President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, to mine the information of tens of millions of Americans.

Facebook’s request to have the lawsuit dismissed was filed Feb. 1, but was obtained directly from the company’s lawyers because it doesn’t yet appear on the court’s electronic docket.

The attorney general’s press office declined to comment on the filing. Racine’s response is due on March 1. The company is the target of at least three more state probes.

The case is District of Columbia v. Facebook Inc., D.C. Super. Ct. Civ. Div., No. 2018-CA-008715.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Harris in Washington at aharris16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Glovin at dglovin@bloomberg.net Joe Schneider

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