“What’s happening now is not legal. Not even close.”
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued both Facebook and Google for what he said was a decade’s worth of “negligent and/or intentional” violations of Washington’s law on political ad transparency saying, “What’s happening now is not legal. Not even close.”
According to The Stranger, Ferguson’s lawsuits were filed in King Count Superior Court, but on Friday lawyers for Facebook filed notice that they’ve moved the case to federal court. “First and foremost, Facebook is not a citizen of Washington,” said attorneys for Facebook.
They also cited federal law that gives federal courts jurisdiction for claims over $75,000, which seems to be the case here, and when the parties involved are citizens of different states.
According to Facebook’s lawyers, “Facebook is incorporated in Delaware and its principal place of business is California, where it is headquartered.” So, the company says, it’s definitely not a citizen of Washington State in the legal sense, reports The Stranger.
Facebook also argues that the State of Washington is “not the real party in interest” in this lawsuit. The real parties, Facebook says, are “two individuals (Eli Sanders and Connor Edwards) who were allegedly denied access by Facebook to records pertaining to political advertising.”
“Facebook brings this up to argue that neither I nor Edwards are citizens of Delaware or California, thus creating ‘complete diversity of citizenship between the parties’—and making the company’s case for a transfer to federal court.”
Leaving the legal arguments to others, I would just point out that in my experience, my requests for political ad records from Facebook were actually—not “allegedly,” as Facebook’s lawyers wrote—ignored.
It’s now been more than seven months since I walked into Facebook’s Seattle office and politely asked for records that state law requires be “open for public inspection.” Despite multiple follow-ups and e-mail exchanges with the company over the last seven months, Facebook has never given me any information on the political ad records I’ve requested.”
A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment on the company’s recent filing.
sources: The Stranger, Washington State, Facebook.com