Chancery orders Facebook to allow inspection of records in data privacy suit

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Delaware Vice-Chancellor Joseph Slights has ruled that Facebook has to allow the inspection of some of its records in a lawsuit filed by a retirement system.

About a dozen lawyers from Delaware and elsewhere were listed in the ruling stemming from a lawsuit over the social media giant’s data privacy practices and a settlement with the federal government.

Filing the case was the Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island.

Slights ordered the parties to confer over the scope of the records inspection, including the search terms that can be used. If an agreement cannot be reached, the two parties can issue separate proposals, with the court choosing one of the two.

The retirement system claims Facebook overpaid in a $5 billion settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over its privacy practices in an effort to protect founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg from personal financial exposure.

The privacy allegations stem from now-defunct Cambridge Analytica using Facebook member data in political campaigns.

In May 2019, Chancery ordered Facebook to produce documents to certainstockholders in an investigation arising from an unauthorized release of confidential information to Cambridge.

At that time Chancery took note of the fact that the Cambridge Analytica data breach more than likelyrepresented a violation by Facebook of a 2012 consent decree it had entered with theFederal Trade Commission (“FTC”) to settle investigations of previous data privacy issues.

In the latest action, Facebook earlier agreed to produce some records but not others.

The company and other social media sites have also been criticized for not dealing with conspiracy theories and calls to action by groups tied to the riot at the U.S. Capitol and more recently a small group that briefly blocked a Covid-19 vaccination site in Los Angeles.

Facebook, Twitter and other sites blocked accounts of former President Donald Trump over claims of election fraud.

Efforts to deal with such issues have led to some claiming that the social media sites have engaged in censorship.

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