Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook's parent company Meta, and Sheryl Sandberg, the ex-COO of the platform, will testify in a California court about how the company handled user data in connection with 2018's Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Zuckerberg will face a six-hour deposition while Sandberg, who announced her departure from Meta in June, will face up to five hours of questioning, according to new court filings accessed by Reuters.
The depositions will take place over the next two months, and could feature other top executives like Javier Olivan, who will replace Sandberg as Meta's COO. New details about the scandal could emerge as a result.
The use of time limits is unusual in civil depositions, but lawyers representing the plaintiffs would be happy for the opportunity to question Meta's top executives, Robert Frenchman, a partner at the New York law firm Mukasey Frenchman told The Guardian.
“Plaintiffs savor the opportunity to cross-examine C-suite executives, and they’ll have free rein on a broad range of topics. For the corporate defendant, there is far more to lose than gain,” he added.
All the witnesses will be testifying under oath and the penalty of perjury.
Zuckerberg was famously grilled for hours in two US congressional hearings in 2018 in relation with Facebook's business practices.
In 2018, it was discovered that personal data of millions of Facebook users was collected without consent and used by British consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to influence the US elections.
The data was used to profile voters and assist the presidential campaigns of Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, among other things.
The revelation prompted a widespread uproar against Facebook and lawmakers began putting increased pressure on the company through regulation and investigations.
Read here about the scandal's India connection.
At present there are various lawsuits in the US over the alleged misuse of data. This particular deposition is part of a four-year-old class-action lawsuit filed in the San Francisco federal court which alleges Facebook violated consumer privacy laws by sharing users' personal data.
Cambridge Analytica went bankrupt while Meta apologised for its involvement in the scandal and agreed to a $5bn fine from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2019. The lawsuits, however, continue.
(With inputs from The Guardian and Reuters)