California Asks Court to Compel Facebook to Comply With Subpoenas

San Francisco, CA..California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today filed a petition in the San Francisco Superior Court requesting that the court order Facebook Inc. to comply with an outstanding subpoena and investigative interrogatories issued by the Attorney General on behalf of the People of California on June 17, 2019. The state’s petition alleges that Facebook has failed to comply with the Attorney General’s subpoena and interrogatories by providing inadequate responses and failing to provide, or even search for, responsive documents among the communications of the company’s senior executives.

“The California Department of Justice, pursuant to its statutory authority, issued investigative subpoenas against Facebook starting back in June 2018 to examine the company’s actions and business practices and any violations of user privacy. The responses we have received to date are patently inadequate,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Our work must move forward. We are left with little choice but to seek a court order compelling Facebook to faithfully comply with our duly authorized subpoenas.”

On June 4, 2018, the Attorney General issued an investigative subpoena requiring Facebook to produce documents related to its business practices including, among others, its management of its relationship with Cambridge Analytica, an app provider that accessed 87 million Americans’ data and used it to conduct election-related disinformation campaigns. Facebook moved slowly to respond to the subpoena, taking over a year to complete its search for and production of requested documents. On June 17, 2019, the Attorney General served a second subpoena and set of interrogatories requesting additional information regarding claims of Facebook’s violation of its users’ privacy. Facebook’s response to this second request for information was patently deficient. It provided no answers to 19 out of 27 written interrogatories, provided a partial response to six, and produced no documents in response to six document requests.

Because Facebook has failed to comply with the lawfully issued investigative subpoena and interrogatories served on June 17, 2019, Attorney General Becerra has filed a petition in superior court pursuant to section 11188 of the Government Code to enforce compliance with the Attorney General’s investigative subpoena and interrogatories.

The petition and subpoenas are attached to the electronic version of this press release here.

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