California AG reveals Facebook investigation

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) is asking the San Francisco County Superior Court to require Facebook to comply with a previously unannounced investigation into the social media giant’s data practices.

In a court filing made public on Wednesday, Becerra’s office revealed that Facebook has declined to comply with multiple subpoenas and requests for documents.

“Facebook broadly refuses to answer the interrogatories or comply with the subpoena as required,” Becerra wrote in the filing.

He added that Facebook has refused to “provide a direct answer to 19 out of 27 interrogatories” and has provided a “partial response” to six. According to Becerra, Facebook has failed to search for relevant documents within communications involving Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg or the company’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg.

“Over the past year and a half, we have lawfully issued several subpoenas and interrogatories as part of our investigation into Facebook’s practices relating to privacy, disclosures, and third-party access to user data,” Becerra told reporters on Wednesday afternoon.

“Facebook, however, has not been fully responsible,” he said.

The court filing acknowledged that Becerra’s office has been investigating Facebook since 2018, in a probe that had not been publicly reported or confirmed. It noted the investigation kicked off after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, but it has since expanded to probe whether Facebook violated California law by “deceiving users and ignoring its own policies in allowing third parties broad access to user data.”