Attorney General Xavier Becerra said California prosecutors haven’t received adequate responses from the company to subpoenas issued in June. Photo: Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

Breaking News:

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Facebook Inc. FB -1.51% has failed to adequately comply with subpoenas for information in a continuing privacy investigation.

Mr. Becerra on Wednesday said that he has asked the San Francisco Superior Court to force Facebook to comply with the information requests. The subpoenas were issued in June. “The responses we have received to date are patently inadequate,” he said at a press conference.

California prosecutors began probing Facebook in 2018, shortly after the company said data from as many as 87 million of its users may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm that worked on President Trump’s 2016 campaign and has since shut down.

Facebook uncovered emails that appear to connect Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg to potentially problematic privacy practices at the company, according to people familiar with the matter. Within the company, the unearthing of the emails in the process of responding to a federal privacy investigation has raised concerns that they would harm Facebook, at least from a public-relations standpoint.

California said in its legal filing that it doesn’t believe Facebook has searched the emails of either Mr. Zuckerberg or Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg in response to the subpoena.

Facebook is operating under a 2012 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission related to privacy. The emails sent around that time suggest that Mr. Zuckerberg and other senior executives didn’t make compliance with the FTC order a priority, the people said. The potential impact of the internal emails has been a factor in the tech giant’s desire to reach a speedy settlement with the FTC, one of the people said.

Facebook couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Facebook must pay a $5 billion fine after the FTC found the social media company deceived users and improperly managed their personal data. Under the settlement, Facebook is also subject to stricter oversight on how it manages user data. WSJ explains what that means for users. Photo: Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

(More to come)

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