Washington State Finds Facebook Intentionally Violated Campaign Finance Law 822 Times

What happens when you’re treated as if you’re above the law? You act like it.

According to The Seattle Times, “Meta, Facebook’s parent company, intentionally violated Washington’s longstanding campaign finance law 822 times, a King County Superior Court judge wrote Thursday, opening the social media giant up to millions of dollars in potential fines.”

Democrat State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, whose time freed up significantly from suing President Donald Trump after he left office (he sued Trump 82 times), sued Facebook in 2018. Facebook allegedly violated a state law passed in a 1972 referendum.

The law requires ad sellers like “Meta to disclose the names and addresses of political ad buyers, the targets of such ads and the total number of views of each ad. Ad sellers must provide the information to anyone who asks for it.”

Washington State AG Bob Ferguson

Facebook settled by agreeing to pay a fine and promising to stop selling political ads. 

“But they didn’t stop selling political ads.” 

So, in 2020, Ferguson sued Facebook again. 

Judge Douglass North found Facebook’s violations were “intentional.” 

Facebook attempted to defend itself by claiming the law “was impossible to comply with,” but it “failed to provide evidence.” 

Another violation allegedly occurred when three people “requested information from Meta…,” which the company failed to provide in a timely manner and that had been redacted.

Judge North determined Facebook violated the law 822 times with a potential fine of $10,000 per offense. But, “since North found that Meta intentionally violated the law, the fines can be tripled.”

But, with a “reported revenue of nearly $29 billion in the second quarter of this year…,” how much of a deterrent is such a relatively low fine?   

For those who talk about “criminal justice reform,” maybe start here.

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