- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A Facebook investor has sued the social network over the recent stock slide that followed revelations involving Cambridge Analytica, a company hired by President Trump’s 2016 campaign accused of exploiting the personal information of millions of Facebook users without their permission.

Attorneys for Facebook shareholder Fan Yuan filed a class-action complaint against the company in San Francisco federal court Tuesday, alleging Facebook misled its investors about its connection to Cambridge Analytica and the policies that permitted the British-based data and communications firm to collect the personal information of some 50 million Facebook users.

Facebook’s stock plummeted on the heels of recent news reports involving the Cambridge scandal, and Mr. Yaun’s attorneys argue that their client and an undetermined number of other investors might not have purchased shares had Facebook been forthright.

“Defendants made materially false and misleading statements regarding the Company’s business, operational and compliance policies,” his attorneys alleged in their 26-page class action complaint.

Specifically Facebook allegedly “violated its own purported data privacy policies by allowing third parties to access the personal data of millions of Facebook users without the users’ consent,” the attorneys wrote.

“As a result of Defendants’ wrongful acts and omissions, and the precipitous decline in the market value of the Company’s common shares, Plaintiff and other Class members have suffered significant losses and damages,” their lawsuit states.

The lawsuit alleges violations of federal securities law, and attorneys for the plaintiffs are seeking a jury trial and damages to be awarded to investors who purchased Facebook shares between February 3, 2017, and March 19, 2018.

“We are committed to vigorously enforcing our policies to protect people’s information,” said Paul Grewal, Facebook’s deputy general counsel. “We will take whatever steps are required to see that this happens,” he said in a statement Tuesday, CNN reported.

The New York Times and The Observer of London reported over the weekend that Cambridge Analytica had amassed the personal information of 50 million of Facebook’s 2.2 billion active users, and that that data was ultimately used to deliver targeted political ads online.

Facebook’s stock saw its worst day in roughly four years on the heels of the news reports, effectively wiping nearly $50 billion from its market value.

Mr. Trump’s campaign against Mrs. Clinton paid Cambridge Analytica at least $5.9 million between July and December 2016, The Daily Beast reported previously.

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