Cambridge Analytica closes down amidst Facebook data use scandals

Image credit: Web Summit

In a statement made public on Wednesday evening, Cambridge Analytica announced that it would cease trading, placing the company in administration due to "virtually all of the company’s customers and suppliers" having withdrawn their custom and support following news breaking over its use of a Facebook personality quiz to target political advertising at certain individuals.

Founded in 2013, as a subsidiary of SCL Group, a consultancy, the company worked on political campaigns with a tech-focused approach, claiming they had a large hand in the success of Donald Trump’s election to the presidency of the United States in 2016. SCL Group has also announced its closure.

While Cambridge Analytica itself continues to deny any illegal action and blaming media bias, the company has claimed that its work consisted of activities accepted as a "standard component of online advertising". Using a report commissioned from Julian Malins QC, they press that allegations against them are not "borne out by the facts". However, condemnations are still being made around the world to demand answers about their full activities, as well as the ethics of targeted advertising.

Some of those associated with the company, such as former boss Alexander Nix, have registered ‘Emerdata’, though it is unclear what services this company will provide. The chair of the House of Commons committee looking into Cambridge Analytica and SCL Group’s activities, Damian Collins, has warned that investigations retain their relevancy, and that the companies will not be allowed to "delete their data history by closing".  Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself have been under rigorous investigation themselves, facing questions from US senators.

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