Facebook is facing a hefty fine in this case

Judge rules social media giant intentionally broke campaign laws

Information released Friday, Sept. 2 by the Washington State Attorney General's office indicates a King County Superior Court judge has upheld the lawsuit against Facebook. He also dismissed Facebook's (parent company Meta) attempt to have the suit dismissed by way of summary judgment.

As far back as 2018, said WA AG Bob Ferguson, Facebook broke WA state law by failing to disclose or make publicly available information about entities who purchased and posted political campaign ads on the social media platform.

Radio and TV stations must have publicly available data about all candidates and political action groups who buy time on the airwaves, the same applies to social media platforms that do business in our state. However, Ferguson said in a statement that read in part:

"This law requires campaign advertisers, including entities such as Meta that host political ads, to make information about Washington political ads that run on their platforms available for public inspection in a timely manner. The state asserted that Meta violated the law repeatedly since December 2018 and committed hundreds of violations."

He went on to say:

"The judge concluded that Meta repeatedly and intentionally violated the law and must pay penalties. The exact amount of penalties will be determined at a later date. Under state law, the court can assess a civil penalty of up to $10,000 per violation."

The AG's office also said because the judge ruled Meta's lawbreaking was intentional, they can, at their discretion, triple the fines.

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The ruling comes from Ferguson's 2020 lawsuit against Facebook, it is believed the social media giant is likely to appeal the ruling.


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