Attorney General Dave Yost of Ohio has launched a lawsuit against Facebook, accusing the company of deceiving the public about how it managed its proprietary algorithm in order to inflate its stock and defraud stockholders.
The lawsuit claims that from April 29 to October 21, 2021, Facebook and its senior executives violated federal securities laws by purposefully misleading the public about the negative effects its products have on children's health and well-being, as well as the steps the company has taken to protect the public.
"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."
The Wall Street Journal reported on Facebook's strategy in September, including internal papers and remarks given by a former Facebook employee who blew the whistle on the business in October, highlighting how the corporation "chooses profit over safety."
According to the complaint, Zuckerberg and other corporate managers were aware that they were making deceptive assertions about the platforms' safety, security, and privacy. Facebook admitted in those internal documents that "We are not actually doing what we say we do publicly."
These discoveries prompted a $54.08 per share depreciation in Facebook's shares in less than a month, costing OPERS and other Facebook investors more than $100 billion.
Yost's action not only aims to recoup the lost revenue, but also demands that Facebook implement major measures to guarantee that the public is not misled about its internal processes.
Yost's lawsuit isn't the first time he's gone against Facebook, which also owns Instagram. In May, he and 43 other attorneys general wrote to Zuckerberg, pleading with him to postpone his plans to launch an Instagram app for children.
Despite Facebook's decision to discontinue the program, the whistleblower's subsequent testimony before Congress demonstrated that the company's objective of expanding its user base through training children to use Facebook's products in the future was never abandoned.
Yost hopes to underscore through this action that the social media giant's illegal targeting of youngsters will not be allowed.
Yost intends to seek the court to appoint OPERS as the main plaintiff in his Facebook securities fraud case by Dec. 27, 2021, the deadline for such filings. Other Facebook investors are invited to join him in holding the corporation and its leaders to account.
Similar charges were made in a lawsuit filed earlier this year on behalf of a retail investor against Facebook. That complaint establishes an erroneous temporal frame for the damages caused by Facebook's activities, obscuring the losses experienced by shareholders like OPERS.
Yost wants to make amends for the period during which the hurtful activities occurred and offer Ohio a voice in holding Facebook accountable.