Zuckerberg to face six hour deposition on Cambridge Analytica

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

Social media giant Meta’s top executives Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg will be questioned for more than five hours each in depositions on their role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, according to US court filings.

A filing in a California court this week shows Zuckerberg and Sandberg agreed to be deposed in September as part of a class action lawsuit filed against Facebook.

The lawsuit alleges Facebook breached consumer privacy laws when it shared data with consulting firm Cambridge Analytica in 2015.

Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg will face hours of questioning in a US lawsuit in the coming months

Cambridge Analytica would use the data to profile voters, including in the Donald Trumps election campaign and the 2016 UK ‘Brexit’ vote.

The scandal shone a light on the murky world of data harvesting and manipulation, and triggered backlash against Facebook and several inquiries into its data practices.

Eventually this included an investigation from the American Federal Trade Commission that resulted in a record $5 billion fine for the social media giant.

More than 300,000 Australian Facebook users’ data was compromised in the scandal, with the Australian privacy regulator pursuing the company over the incident in court over the last two years.

Earlier this year, the Full Federal Court dismissed Facebook’s claim against the watchdog’s case that it neither conducts business nor collects personal information in Australia. The regulator said it will pursue the matter.

In the US, users are pursuing Facebook for its role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal through a class action. Court filings released this week show the parties have agreed to depose Facebook parent company Meta’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg for six hours.

Former chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, who stepped down from the company in June, will be deposed for five hours, while her successor Javier Olivan could also face three hours of deposition.

Several other key witnesses may also be deposed, and Facebook may be forced to share documents it has previously withheld from the case.

Testifying in the civil case will mean the witnesses are under oath under the penalty of perjury.

The depositions is expected to occur at the plaintiffs law firm with a court reporter transcribing everything the witness says.

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