Matt Stoller with the hottest of hot takes
It’s a very long complaint, but the gist is pretty simple. The first part is that Zuckerberg knew he was violating the law, and in particular the Federal Trade Commission order barring Facebook from deceiving users. And he did it anyway, with the permission of board members like Zients and auditors like PwC. The second part, and this is where it gets interesting, is that when he realized his lawbreaking would be exposed via reporting on Cambridge Analytica, he sold huge blocs of stock.
And the timing is very suspicious. While Zuckerberg had pledged to only sell $1 billion of stock a year in 2015, after he “learned of Cambridge Analytica’s massive extraction of Facebook user data, he and the entities controlled by him significantly accelerated his sales of Facebook shares,” selling roughly $10 billion of stock while he had material non-public information about the firm. Sandberg did the same thing, as did WhatsApp founder Jan Koum, and a host of others. (One irony here is that this was a losing trade, because Facebook’s stock is higher today than it was then, and no doubt this will be part of their defense. It’s also an irrelevant fact, since trading on non-public information is the offense.)