The world's largest social media company has drawn global scrutiny since disclosing earlier this year that a third-party personality quiz distributed on Facebook gathered profile information on 87 million users worldwide and sold the data to British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.
Facebook is being sued by the DC attorney general over allegations it failed to safeguard the personal data of its users.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday by Karl Racine, attorney general for the nation's capital.
"Facebook is committed to working with leading United States civil rights organizations to strengthen and advance civil rights on our service", she said in a statement.
The action appears to be the first from a US prosecutor since revelations about were first reported in March.
The lawsuit comes as Facebook faces new reports that it shared its users' data without their permission.More news: Palestinian Terrorists Kill 2 More Israelis in Samaria; Hamas Celebrates
Zuckerberg owns a 13% stake in Facebook, which this year has been beset by crises including the Cambridge Analytica scandal, accusations of mismanagement, a shareholder revolt, and questions over inappropriate content. Amazon got its hands on users' names and contact info.
"Facebook has taken relatively little action commensurate with the action on the site", said Scott Simpson, public advocacy director ofMuslim Advocates, one of the organizations that led the development of the letter.
Facebook's head of developer platforms and programs, Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, said in a blog post that the Times report referred to partnerships that enabled "social experiences - like seeing recommendations from their Facebook friends - on other popular apps and websites".
Revelations about Facebook's response to manipulation of the social network before and after the 2016 USA presidential election, and shifting accounts about breaches of users' privacy, have battered the company's reputation and fueled frustration on Capitol Hill.
Facebook did not immediately respond to requests.
At the same time, the Federal Trade Commission took the unusual step of announcing an investigation into whether Facebook had violated a 2011 consent decree, exposing the company to a multi-billion dollar fine.
"At no time did we access people's private messages on Facebook or ask for the ability to do so", Netflix said in a statement.