The District of Columbia attorney general has filed a lawsuit against Mark Zuckerberg, aiming to hold the Facebook co-founder personally liable for enabling the political consulting Cambridge Analytica agency to gather the data from millions of Americans during the 2016 election season.

The lawsuit, filed in the capital by Attorney General Karl Racine of the District of Columbia, claims that Zuckerberg was actively involved in rules that allowed Cambridge Analytica to collect personal data on US voters without their consent to aid Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Showing CEOs they can be held accountable

In a news release, Racine said that this extraordinary security breach exposed tens of millions of Americans’ personal information and that Mr. Zuckerberg’s policies permitted a multi-year attempt to deceive consumers about the magnitude of Facebook’s illegal behavior.

Racine added that the case is justified and vital since it sends a message that business leaders, especially CEOs, will be held accountable. Meta remained silent about the matter.

Racine has already sued Facebook’s parent corporation, Meta, under the Consumer Protection Procedures Act of the District of Columbia. Individuals are held liable for infractions if they were aware of them at the time.

Zuckerberg potentially knew the risks from the beginning

The lawsuit against Zuckerberg is based on hundreds of thousands of documents, including depositions from workers and whistleblowers, gathered as part of the protracted legal battle with Meta.

Racine claims that Zuckerberg’s willingness to open up Facebook to third-party developers caused the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

According to the lawsuit, Zuckerberg was aware of the potential for data leaks due to the approach. According to the complaint, Zuckerberg said in an email on state leaks that “there is clear risk on the advertiser side.”