Facebook risks a heavy fine in this case
Judge rules social media giant intentionally broke campaign laws
Information released on Friday, September 2, by the Washington State Attorney General’s office indicates that a King County Superior Court judge upheld the lawsuit against Facebook. He also rejected an attempt by Facebook (parent company Meta) to have the lawsuit dismissed by way of summary judgment.
As early as 2018, WA AG Bob Ferguson said, Facebook violated WA state law by failing to disclose or make publicly available information about entities that purchased and posted political campaign ads on the social media platform.
Radio and television stations must have publicly available data on all candidates and political action groups earning airtime, the same goes for social media platforms doing business in our state. . However, Ferguson said in a statement that said in part:
“This law requires campaign advertisers, including entities such as Meta that host political ads, to make information about Washington political ads running on their platforms available for public inspection in a timely manner. The state asserted that Meta had repeatedly violated the law since December 2018 and committed hundreds of violations.”
He went on to say:
“The judge found that Meta repeatedly and intentionally violated the law and should pay fines. The exact amount of the fines will be determined at a later date. Under state law, the court may impose a fine up to $10,000 per violation.”
The AG’s office also said that because the judge ruled that Meta’s violation of law was intentional, they could, at their discretion, triple the fines.
The ruling stems from Ferguson’s 2020 lawsuit against Facebook, it is believed the social media giant is likely to appeal the decision.