SAN FRANCISCO — The attorney general of the District of Columbia, Karl Racine, sued Facebook on Wednesday for allowing the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to harvest the private data of tens of millions of the social network’s users.
It was a first step by a state attorney general to punish Facebook for privacy violations. “Facebook failed to protect the privacy of its users and deceived them about who had access to their data and how it was used,” Mr. Racine said in a statement.
Will Castleberry, Facebook’s vice president of state and local public policy, said in a statement, “We’re reviewing the complaint and look forward to continuing our discussions with attorneys general in D.C. and elsewhere.”
The Times and other news organizations reported in March that Cambridge Analytica, which was based in London, had improperly obtained the data of as many as 87 million Facebook users. Cambridge Analytica, which had ties to President Trump’s campaign, used the information to build psychographic profiles of American voters.