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Ohio says Facebook lost $3 million in state retirement funds in lawsuit

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio will lead a class-action lawsuit against Meta after Facebook stock took a tumble, leading to millions of dollars of losses in the state pension funds.

A federal judge in California agreed on Thursday to consolidate a series of lawsuits against Facebook. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said the judge appointed him as the lead plaintiff in the securities class-action case.

Damage to specifically the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System amounted to around $3 million, the lawsuit alleges. The money is tied to a drop in Facebook stock value that came after news reports and a former employee leaked internal documents focused on how the company “chooses profit over safety.” From April 21 through Oct. 21, 2021, Facebook and its senior executives violated federal securities laws by purposely misleading the public about the negative effects its products have on the health and well-being of children, and the steps the company has taken to protect the public, Ohio contends in the suit.

The decision to consolidate the lawsuits into one means that Yost’s office – representing victims from OPERS and other Facebook investors – will lead the effort to recover millions of dollars in losses and compel Mark Zuckerberg, owner of Facebook, to reform the company’s internal practices.

Ohio, which filed its motion to serve as lead plaintiff jointly with PFA Pension of Denmark, was chosen over the California Public Employees Retirement System, which also petitioned to serve as lead plaintiff.

“Ohio PERS and PFA Pension are the presumptive lead plaintiff by virtue of having the largest financial interest,” Judge Jon S. Tigar wrote in his ruling.

In its lawsuit against Facebook, Ohio also maintains that the company, now called Meta, misled the public about how its proprietary algorithm promoted offensive and dangerous content to users. If a recovery is obtained in the class action suit, other retirement systems and Facebook investors can file claims to participate in the recovery, Yost’s office said.