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The Washington Post reports that this is "the first major effort" by USA regulators to punish Facebook over its involvement with the British political consulting firm, which was allowed to gain access to personal data of millions of the social network's users without their permission.

The lawsuit filed in the DC Superior Court seeks an injunction "to ensure Facebook puts in place protocols and safeguards to monitor users' data and to make it easier for users to control their privacy settings", and "restitution" for consumers.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday by Karl Racine, attorney general for the nation's capital. The company had told users it vetted third-party apps, yet made few checks, Racine said. "Partnerships are one area of focus and, as we've said, we're winding down the integration partnerships that were built to help people access Facebook", he said.

In March, a bipartisan coalition of 37 state attorneys wrote to the company, demanding to know more about the Cambridge Analytica data and its possible links to US President Donald Trump's election campaign.

In 2013, a researcher launched a Facebook app, promoted as a personality quiz, which claimed to generate a personality profile.

The organizations say that despite in some cases years of engagement with Facebook, "civil rights, privacy and safety problems" persist on the site. Facebook also reportedly allowed Spotify, Netflix and the Royal Bank of Canada to read and delete users' private messages and to see all participants on a thread.

Albeit in brief, Sanderg also responded to a just-released report& lt; /a for the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, which concluded that Russian operatives used Facebook and Instagram to suppress turnout among potential black voters in 2016. In total, the effort allowed Cambridge Analytica to harvest insights on more than 87 million users around the world, including 71 million Americans, Facebook previously revealed. A copy of the full complaint against Facebook can be viewed here.

Facebook agreed in 2011 to an arrangement with the Federal Trade Commission, which forces Facebook to undergo an external audit of their privacy policies and practices every two years.

Facebook used contact lists from the partners, including Chinese company Huawei, which American officials consider a security threat because of its connections to China - to gain deeper insight into people's relationships, TheNYT's report notes, citing internal company records.