Meta Being Sued For 10.5 Billion


Ian Schmutzler, Writer

Meta, the successor platform to facebook, was sued by the King County Supreme Court for violating campaign finance laws. The fine was issued on Friday, October 29, by judge Douglass North. The fee amounts to $25 million dollars, alongside a legal fee of $10.5 million. It has been described as the largest campaign finance fine in American history, and the funds gathered from it are meant to be dedicated to the Public Disclosure Commission.


Washingtonian laws regarding ad transparency require that any online platform which sells space for ads maintain a list of the name and online addresses of anyone who buys space for political ads. This information must be made available to anyone who requests its use. While there has been no major violation of these laws in the past, Meta has been an outspoken opponent of these laws.  It has claimed the laws are unconstitutional because the ads count as free speech and therefore should not be recorded. It has also argued that it is unable to comply with the laws due to the sheer amount of information they would have to manage for release and storage.


Metas’ predecessor, Facebook, had been fined $238,000 for violating the laws in 2018. While it said it would stop selling ads to users in the state, it violated this promise and was sued again by Ferguson in 2020.


This is more bad news out of a particularly bad decade for Meta. Right out of the gate, its predecessor was sued in March of 2021 by the Office Of The Australian Information Commissioner for approximately three hundred thousand privacy violations. In December of the same year, it was hit by an antitrust lawsuit from the Federal Trade Commision and 46 US states. And in June of this year it was hit with eight separate lawsuits alleging its algorithms are designed to overexpose children and young teens to content which increases suicide rates. While these and other lawsuits weren’t always successful, legal fees from fighting them are certainly going to start racking up. Meta and the various platforms it owns have been forced to pay numerous settlements.


Compounding these legal issues is the massive investments it has made into developments that have not always paid off. The most well known example is the metaverse. The metaverse was meant to be a massive virtual world accessible via virtual reality and augmented reality headsets. If you factor in new headsets which needed to be developed and the development of plans to have the Metaverse made compatible with all internet accessible devices, the cost of development is an impressive $36 billion. While the site has made $16.5 billion, this revenue is not yet enough to compensate for the extreme losses. The site has also been subject to significant mockery, particularly over the quality of animation and the amount of hype the company attempted to build up over the release of legs in the Metaverse.


In the face of this financial instability, the company is projected to engage in mass layoffs. Chief executive Mark Zukerberg has projected that in 2023 investment will be more focused on high priority areas and that certain teams will be reorganized to reduce costs. Overinvestment in the Metaverse, as well as the global economic crisis, has left investors with shaky confidence in the company. It is likely that the downturn, while perhaps not what kills the company, will continue.