The attorney general for Washington, DC said the U.S. capital city had sued Facebook Inc. for allegedly misleading users about how it safeguarded their personal data, in the latest fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The world’s largest social media company has drawn global scrutiny since disclosing earlier this year that a third-party personality quiz distributed on Facebook gathered profile information on 87 million users worldwide and sold the data to British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook could be levied a civil penalty of $5,000 per violation of the region’s consumer protection law, or potentially close to $1.7 billion, if penalized for each consumer affected. The lawsuit alleges the quiz software had data on 340,000 D.C. residents, though just 852 users had directly engaged with it.

Privacy settings on Facebook to control what friends on the network could see and what data could be accessed by apps were also deceiving, Ms Racine said.

“Facebook’s lax oversight and confusing privacy settings put the information of millions of consumers at risk,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “In our lawsuit, we’re seeking to hold Facebook accountable for jeopardizing and exposing the information” of its customers.

At least six US states have ongoing investigations into Facebook’s privacy practices, according to state officials.


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