Cambridge Analytica, a key player in Facebook’s series of data scandals, has officially shut down. Employees were reportedly told to pack up and leave their offices immediately. ( Lionel Bonaventure | AFP/Getty Images )
Cambridge Analytica is officially done as if there were other conclusions for the embattled company than a total shutdown.
The announcement comes amid allegations about its misuse of Facebook user data, and the fact that it worked for President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, not to mention the campaign tactics it pitched to its clients.
Just this March, Cambridge Analytica suspended Alexander Nix, its chief executive. The company said it would carry out an investigation whether the company had, in fact, engaged in any wrongdoing with regard to information pulled from Facebook accounts.
The company opted for a shutdown following waning confidence from its clients. It was also facing mounting legal fees in the wake of the Facebook investigation, according to people familiar with the matter, The Wall Stree Journal reports.
Cambridge Analytica, together with SCL Elections, released a joint statement on May 2 confirming the closures.
“Over the past several months, Cambridge Analytica has been the subject of numerous unfounded accusations,” the statement reads. “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.”
The said statement further confirms that Bankruptcy proceedings will soon begin for Cambridge Analytica. The firm’s Uk-based parent organization, SCL Group, will also be shuttered.
Julian Wheatland, the recently appointed CEO of Cambridge Analytica, reportedly told staffers that it had evaluated all options and saw no way forward. As Wired reports, one source says the employees in the company’s New York offices were told to pack up and leave immediately without being offered information on how they’ll be compensated moving forward.
The source says there was a feeling of “just shock” in the room.
“There was indication the company was in trouble and change would be coming, but we didn’t see this as the resolution,” the source reveals.
Cambridge Analytica Explained
Cambridge Analytica gained enormous notoriety after it was revealed that it worked on data analytics for Trump’s presidential campaign. Also, it was found that the firm had acquired data from millions upon millions of Facebook accounts via a seemingly harmless personality test app without getting consent.
Aleksandr Kogan, a researcher hired by the firm, was the one who created the said test. It collected data from any user who took it, along with their friends. Kogan sold that data to the firm to develop “psychographic profiles” of American voters.
The scandal became worse when it was reported that Facebook knew that this occurred but chose not to properly disclose it to its users.
The scandal reached the point where Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had to testify before the U.S. Congress.
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