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Ohio AG sues Facebook over losses in state's largest pension fund

Ohio’s attorney general is suing Facebook over millions of dollars in losses suffered by the state’s largest pension fund, one of the biggest in the world.

This is one of the first lawsuits against Facebook following reports that the social media giant knew its Instagram product was harming teenage girls, but didn’t do anything about it.

Republican Attorney General Dave Yost said Facebook claimed it was taking steps to protect the health and well-being of children. When internal documents from a whistleblower revealed last month in what has become known as "the Facebook Files" disputed that, the stock took a hit.

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System sold some Facebook stock it had bought in July, realizing a $4 million loss.

Yost admitted that’s a small percentage of the more than $90 billion the fund manages, but he said it's not just about the dollar value of the loss.

“The bottom line is, there are substantial questions about the governance of Facebook. Do their policies what they say they mean? What are the internal procedures to make sure the policy is followed?” Yost said.

Yost is also seeking class-action status. The lawsuit was filed in US District Court in the Northern District of California.

A spokesperson for Meta, which is Facebook’s new name, said in a statement: “This suit is without merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously.”

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.