Meta’s Zuckerberg, Sandberg to be deposed in privacy class action lawsuit

Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies at a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, U.S., October 23, 2019. REUTERS/Erin Scott

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  • Summary
  • Law firms
  • Related documents
  • CEO Mark Zuckerberg and departing COO Sheryl Sandberg due to sit for hours of questions
  • Underlying lawsuit alleges company shared user data illegally, including with Cambridge Analytica

(Reuters) – Meta Platforms Inc chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg and outgoing chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg are set to answer attorney questions as part of San Francisco federal court litigation over the Cambridge Analytica data sharing scandal, according to a new court filing.

Lawyers for both plaintiffs and Meta-owned Facebook have agreed that the plaintiffs’ attorneys can depose Zuckerberg for six hours and Sandberg for five hours as part of the data privacy lawsuit, according to a joint filing late Tuesday.

The parties have also agreed that plaintiffs can question Javier Olivan, the company’s chief growth officer who will replace Sandberg as COO, for three hours, according to the court document.

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There are depositions in the case scheduled through Sept. 20, the filing said.

A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment and the company’s outside lawyers from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Lawyers for the plaintiffs at Keller Rohrback and Bleichmar Fonti & Auld declined to comment.

The four-year-old proposed class action alleges Facebook violated consumer privacy laws by sharing users’ personal data with now-defunct British political consultancy Cambridge Analytica and others.

Facebook has said of the underlying lawsuit that its privacy practices are consistent with its disclosures and “do not support any legal claims.”

The Tuesday case management statement from the parties comes amid long-running discovery marred by plaintiffs’ allegations of litigation misconduct.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers recently filed a sanctions motion seeking $854,000 in fees and costs from Facebook, Gibson Dunn and the firm’s lead partner in the case, Orin Snyder. The company and firm in a response filing said there has been no sanctionable conduct.

At least one other recent plaintiffs’ effort to force Zuckerberg to answer attorney questions tied to the Cambridge Analytica scandal failed.

The D.C. attorney general’s office, in its own lawsuit against the social media company, sought to question Zuckerberg about Facebook’s data privacy practices. Facebook’s lawyers argued the District’s effort was a “transparent attempt to harass.” A D.C. superior court judge in March rejected the bid.

The case is In re Facebook Inc., Consumer Privacy User Profile Litigation, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, No. 3:18-md-02843

For the plaintiffs: Derek Loeser of Keller Rohrback; and Lesley Weaver of Bleichmar Fonti & Auld

For Facebook: Orin Snyder and Deborah Stein of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher

(NOTE: The story has been updated to add Facebook’s response to the original data privacy lawsuit.)

Read more:

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Sanction threat looms for Facebook and Gibson Dunn in privacy class action

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Mike Scarcella contributed reporting

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Sara Merken

Thomson Reuters

Sara Merken reports on privacy and data security, as well as the business of law, including legal innovation and key players in the legal services industry. Reach her at

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Christeen Wrona