Republican Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a complaint against Facebook on Monday, alleging the company misled its investors.
The complaint alleges that Facebook executives violated federal securities laws by making false statements to the public regarding the negative effects its platform has on the mental health of teen users. The complaint cites documents leaked to The Wall Street Journal by former Facebook employee Frances Haugen as evidence that Facebook was aware its platform was harmful but failed to disclose its negative impact or take adequate steps to ameliorate its harms.
“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 in a statement. “We are not people to Mark Zuckerberg, we are the product and we are being used against each other out of greed.”
The complaint names Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg along with David M. Wehner, Facebook’s chief financial officer, and Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs and communications, as defendants in the suit.
When reached for comment, a Facebook spokesperson dismissed the lawsuit’s allegations.
“This suit is without merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously,” the spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Yost filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS), a public pension fund that owns Facebook shares, as well as other Facebook investors. The Ohio attorney general alleged that the revelations from leaked internal documents caused Facebook’s share price to fall and investors to suffer losses.
The complaint follows several whistleblower complaints filed by Haugen with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) making similar allegations. Facebook is also reportedly under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for alleged harms to consumers.
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