The political consultancy firm, Cambridge Analytica, has announced its shutdown.
Cambridge Analytica, the political consultancy firm at the center of the high-profile Facebook data breach scandal, just announced Wednesday that it would be shutting down its operations.
The company has been plagued by scandal since it was exposed that they stole the personal data of over 80 million Facebook users in the United States and around a million in the United Kingdom. Cambridge Analytica denied the accusations. However, the scandal and negative media coverage have left the company on the edge of bankruptcy.
The company said that bankruptcy proceedings would start in the United States together with the insolvency proceedings in the U.K where its parent company, The SCL Group, is located.
“Over the past several months, Cambridge Analytica has been the subject of numerous unfounded accusations and, despite the Company’s efforts to correct the record, has been vilified for activities that are not only legal but also widely accepted as a standard component of online advertising in both the political and commercial arenas,” the company said in a statement.
“Despite Cambridge Analytica’s unwavering confidence that its employees have acted ethically and lawfully… the siege of media coverage has driven away virtually all of the company’s customers and suppliers.
“As a result, it has been determined that it is no longer viable to continue operating the business.” ~ Cambridge Analytica
According to Facebook, Cambridge Analytica illegally obtained the data of the social network’s users through Aleksandr Kogan, a professor and researcher from the University of Cambridge.
It was discovered that the personality application developed by Kogan and his research team harvested the personal information of around 270,000 Facebook users together with the data of the users’ friends.
The friend connections’ data was reportedly used to amplify the reach to tens of millions of users when Kogan sold the data to Cambridge. The company was then accused of using the record to manipulate the 2016 U.S. elections in favor of the then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.
However, while it appears that Cambridge Analytica is already dead, The Guardian reported that the people behind it have already set up a new company known as Emerdata. Among the directors of the said company was Alexander Nix, the CEO of Cambridge Analytica that was suspended last March.