Mark Zuckerberg Won’t Be Named in Meta Privacy Suit, Judge Says

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A judge on Tuesday threw out motions by the attorney general of the District of Columbia to name Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Meta, as a defendant in a privacy lawsuit.

Judge Maurice A. Ross of Superior Court of the District of Columbia said in a hearing that Washington’s attorney general, Karl Racine, had waited too long to try to amend the lawsuit to name Mr. Zuckerberg as a defendant, a move that sought to hold him personally accountable.

“The problem I have with this is you wait three years,” Judge Ross said, referring to the addition of Mr. Zuckerberg to the case, which was filed in the court in December 2018. “What value does it add to name him? There’s no more relief for the consumers of the district.”

Judge Ross also opposed a demand by Mr. Racine to depose Mr. Zuckerberg for the lawsuit.

Mr. Racine’s lawsuit accused Facebook, which renamed itself Meta last year, of misleading consumers about privacy on the platform by allowing Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm, to obtain sensitive data from more than 87 million users, including more than half the district’s residents.

Mr. Racine tried to add Mr. Zuckerberg as a defendant in October, saying he wanted to send a message to all corporate chief executives that they could be responsible for harming consumers. Mr. Zuckerberg, by being named in the lawsuit, could have been exposed to financial and other penalties.

“Our lawsuit is moving forward against Facebook,” a spokeswoman for Mr. Racine’s office said Friday. “The company failed to protect the data of its users — tens of millions of users nationally and nearly half of all District residents — when Cambridge Analytica acquired and used that data to manipulate the 2016 election. We are holding Facebook accountable for these reckless actions.”

Facebook is at the center of multiple legal battles with regulators. It is the target of antitrust and consumer protection lawsuits by the Federal Trade Commission and several state attorneys general.

Meta declined to comment.

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