In a case that was months in the making, Washington DC has sued Facebook over the Cambridge Analytica scandal which saw more than 50 million users' personal data used without their permission.
Following an investigation by the Observer and the New York Times in March this year it was discovered that the company had allowed the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica access to Facebook accounts' data. The data was then allegedly used to manipulate the 2016 presidential elections.
"Facebook failed to protect the privacy of its users and deceived them about who had access to their data and how it was used," Washington DC's attorney general Karl Racine said in a statement released on December 19.
Visit DATAx Singapore on March 5–6, 2019
"Facebook put users at risk of manipulation by allowing companies like Cambridge Analytica and other third-party applications to collect personal data without users' permission," he added.
The concerns over Facebook's improper sharing of data does not stop there. On December 18, the New York Times reported that Facebook also gave Netflix and Spotify the ability to read and even delete users' private messages, as was outlined in hundreds of pages of Facebook documents obtained by the publication.
Following the court case and the fresh allegations, shares in the social media giant fell 6.8%, wiping $22bn off its market value.
With scandal after scandal, 2018 has been Facebook's roughest year yet and it has spent much of its attending various hearings. At the end of November, it was also accused of dominating social media but lacking accountability by politicians from nine countries. A hearing which Zuckerberg chose not to attend.