by J.D. Davidson
The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System claims Facebook violated federal securities law and purposely misled the public in a lawsuit filed to recover investor losses of more than $100 billion, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said.
The lawsuit Yost filed on behalf of the state retirement system and Facebook investors says Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg and other company officials knew they were making false statements regarding the safety, security and privacy of its platforms.
“Facebook said it was looking out for our children and weeding out online trolls, but in reality was creating misery and divisiveness for profit,” Yost said. “We are not people to Mark Zuckerberg, we are the product and we are being used against each other out of greed.”
Yost said the social media giant’s “scheme” came to light in a September in the Wall Street Journal and in October from documents and statements provided by a former Facebook official turned whistleblower, claiming the company “chooses profit over safety.”
The lawsuit claims Facebook controlled its proprietary algorithm to boost its stock and deceive shareholders. It also charges company officials knew they were making false statements regarding the safety, security and privacy of its platforms. Facebook admitted in those internal documents “we are not actually doing what we say we do publicly.”
In roughly a month since the whistleblower accusations were released, those revelations caused a devaluation in Facebook’s stock of $54.08 per share, causing OPERS and other Facebook investors to lose more than $100 billion, Yost said.
Yost’s lawsuit not only seeks to recover that lost value but also demands Facebook make significant reforms to ensure it does not mislead the public about its internal practices.
Yost plans to ask the court by Dec. 27 to appoint OPERS as the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit.
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J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist for The Center Square with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher.
Photo “Dave Yost” by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. Background Photo “Facebook Headquarters Menlo Park” by LPS.1.