California Steaming: Attorney General Seeks Court Order Regarding Facebook

Xavier Becerra claims that the company failed to comply with a subpoena and requests for documents

Did Facebook poke the bear? Maksym Kapliuk/iStock
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California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is tired of waiting for Facebook.

Becerra filed a petition in San Francisco Superior Court Wednesday requesting that the court order Facebook to comply with an outstanding subpoena and investigative interrogatories issued by Becerra June 17 on behalf of the people of California.

The attorney general said in a release that Facebook has provided inadequate responses and failed to provide or search for documents covering communications of the social network’s leadership.

Facebook vice president of state and local policy Will Castleberry disagreed, issuing the following statement: “We have cooperated extensively with the state of California’s investigation. To date, we have provided thousands of pages of written responses and hundreds of thousands of documents.”

Becerra is looking into Facebook’s business practices, mainly its handling of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the data of 87 million users was compromised and used to conduct disinformation campaigns that affected the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

He said in a release, “The California Department of Justice, pursuant to its statutory authority, issued investigative subpoenas against Facebook starting back in June 2018 to examine the company’s actions and business practices and any violations of user privacy. The responses we have received to date are patently inadequate. Our work must move forward. We are left with little choice but to seek a court order compelling Facebook to faithfully comply with our duly authorized subpoenas.” David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.