CHICAGO (CBS) — Facebook is now the target of consumer fraud lawsuit, filed Monday by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.
The suit claims Facebook failed to take proper steps to prevent the harvesting of user data by Cambridge Analytica. The suit alleged Cambridge Analytica used “fraudulent and deceptive practices” to gain personal information from 50 million Facebook users.
The company obtained the data of users who downloaded an app and took a personality quiz. The app also allowed Cambridge to access data of the app users’ Facebook friends.
The company then used that data to create “psychographic profiles” of American voters with the intent on influcing the 2016 U.S. elections, the lawsuit states.
Facebook, the lawsuit says, failed to take action to correct and disclose the breach.
In a statement, Foxx said Facebook’s “response was limited to a single private request to Cambridge Analytica to delete the data. Facebook took no further action … until the public revelation of the breach in the media. “
“This lawsuit seeks to right the wrongs created by Cambridge Analytica’s and Facebook’s blatant disregard and misuse of sensitive, personal data belonging to the People of the State of Illinois,” according to the lawsuit.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is also demanding answers.
“We want to know how many people in Illinois have had their information exposed because of this breach,” she said.
The lawsuit seeks civil penalties and fines under the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.
“We are committed to vigorously enforcing our policies to protect people’s information. We will take whatever steps are required to see that this happens,” Paul Grewal, Facebook vice president and deputy general counsel, said in a statement.
Adding in potential federal inquiries, all of this leaves Facebook at risk.
“When you fave federal agencies involved, and the state government and county government suing for consumer protection, that could run into billions of dollars if they lose all of these,” said CBS 2 legal analyst Irv Miller.