There are new allegations that Facebook has been sharing user data with a variety of smartphone device makers without getting user’s consent. On top of that, both Facebook and Google have been named in a complaint from Washington State for violating campaign finance laws.
The finance law allegations go back as far as 2013. Washington State’s attorney general, Bob Ferguson, claims that the companies aren’t keeping proper records or other information about buyers of political ads. State law has specific requirements in this area and the state is seeking penalties as well as legal fees and injunctions against the two tech giants.
Some of the information that Washington state campaign finance laws requires advertisers to keep on political advertising include the name and address of the person who sponsored the ad, the total costs of the ad campaigns, and when they were purchased.
The Washington Attorney General’s office said that over the past decade, “Washington candidates and political committees reported about $3.4 million in payments to Facebook and $1.5 million to Google related to advertising.”
“Washington’s political advertising disclosure laws apply to everyone, whether you are a small-town newspaper or a large corporation,” Ferguson said in a statement. “Washingtonians have a right to know who’s paying for the political advertising they see.”
The Washington state now seeks penalties and injunctive relief. Google and Facebook will have 20 days to respond to the state’s complaint.
Facebook and Google have both said that they will capture and disclose more information going forward, but that doesn’t address the actual lawsuit.
In Illinois, Facebook is facing a class action lawsuit for alleged violation of the 2008 Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, which is what regulates fingerprint identification, biometric information, and facial recognition technology.
Facebook can face up to $5000 per violation of this law. Given that the social media giant has about 1.5 million users in Illinois, the maximum fine could be well into the billions.
While still early on in the legal process, it is clear that Facebook is going to be facing a very challenging and complicated legal situation through the rest of 2018.