The lawsuit, initially reported by the Washington Post, is the first major push by United States regulators to hold Facebook to account for its dealings with the shady British consultancy firm after it was revealed earlier this year that it had harvested the personal data of more than 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge.
The organizations also complained that Facebook hired an opposition research firm, Definers Public Affairs, to investigate those who criticized the company for use of the platform in allegedly helping to spread Russian misinformation and providing user data to the now-defunct Cambridge Analytica.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday by Karl Racine, the attorney general for the District of Columbia.
"Facebook is committed to working with leading U.S. civil rights organizations to strengthen and advance civil rights on our service", she said in a statement.
In March, revelations surfaced that Cambridge Analytica, which had ties to Donald Trump's presidential campaign, had improperly gained access to the data of up to 87 million Facebook users. As 2018 ends, that figure is expected to be at least $15 billion lower-the result of a year filled with bad publicity for Facebook, in which he owns a 13 percent stake.
Sen. John N. Kennedy (R-La.) joined Bill Hemmer on "America's Newsroom" Wednesday to react to a bombshell report on Facebook giving big tech companies "intrusive access" to the personal data of its 2.2. billion users.
The incoming chair of the House Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee, Representative David Cicilline, tweeted: "Zuckerberg told Congress that Facebook users had "complete control" over their data".
None of those partnerships or features "gave companies access to information without people's permission", he said, adding that the deals did not violate a 2012 privacy settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission.
"We take this incredibly seriously", Sandberg said.
The attorney general of the District of Columbia has sued (PDF) Facebook, alleging violations of local consumer protection laws. Company spokeswoman Katy Dormer directed The Daily Caller News Foundation to comments Steve Satterfield, director of privacy and public policy at Facebook, made Tuesday addressing the report.