Title Cambridge Analytica shuts down after Facebook privacy scandal sees it lose hoards of clients - Daily Record

Publication Date 2018-05-02

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Cambridge Analytica is shutting down following it's involvement in the Facebook data scandal.

SCL Group and it's Cambridge Analytics consultancy are reportedly closing after the privacy investigation saw the companies lose hoards of clients.

It comes as the businesses face mounting legal fees while they are at the centre of the recent Facebook row.

The firm had claimed credit for delivering Donald Trump's unlikely presidential victory, the Mirror reports .

But they were embroiled in a scandal over their use of the private data of 87 million Facebook users to target political adverts for their clients.

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The company is reported to have been involved in the Leave.EU campaign in the build up to the Brexit referendum.

The firm is shutting down effective Wednesday and employees have reportedly been told to turn in their computers.

The business had $15 million in U.S. political work in the 2016 election cycle and their chief executive, Alexander Nix, has already departed in an effort to contain the crisis - without apparent success.

Facebook have said its own probe into the sharing of its users data would continue.

A Cambridge Analytica statement said it had "unwavering confidence that its employees have acted ethically and lawfully" but "the siege of media coverage has driven away virtually all of the Company's customers and suppliers."

It added: "As a result, it has been determined that it is no longer viable to continue operating the business, which left Cambridge Analytica with no realistic alternative to placing the Company into administration."

In secret filming by Channel 4 News released in March, CA executives boasted about profiling voters to help politicians target them with social media adverts.

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(Image: Getty)

Former CA employees Christopher Wylie and Brittany Kaiser have claimed the company helped Donald Trump and Ted Cruz's 2016 election campaigns, as well as the Brexit campaign group Leave.EU.

Leave.EU denies the claims but pro-Brexit groups Vote Leave and BeLeave, as well as the DUP and Veterans for Britain, spent large portions of their campaign budgets with Aggregate IQ, a company linked to CA which carries out similar work.

(Image: REUTERS)

Today Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has described 2018 as an "intense year" for the social network, but promised to take a "broader view" of the company's responsibilities.

Mr Zuckerberg was speaking at the company's annual F8 developer conference, where he referred to the recent data privacy scandal involving the site and Cambridge Analytica as a "major breach of trust".

He announced the social media platform was to introduce a new Clear History tool, which would enable Facebook users to see the information third party sites and apps collected on them via Facebook and delete this data.

(Image: Getty Images North America)

The new tool will also allow users to turn off Facebook's ability to store this information in the future.

"We need to make sure this doesn't happen again", he said of the Cambridge Analytica incident, adding that it was important for the company to keep building new privacy tools as the issue would never fully be solved, calling it an "arms race".

The Facebook founder also spoke about the company's wider plans to introduce new tools to find and remove malicious content and accounts, as it looked to "protect election integrity" as well as data privacy among users.

"We need to take a broader view of our responsibilities. It's not enough to just make powerful tools, we need to make sure that these tools are used for good," he said.

"We're hard at work making sure people don't misuse our platform."

After Trump won the White House in 2016, in part with the firm's help, Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix went to more clients to pitch his services, the New York Times reported last year.

The company boasted it could develop psychological profiles of consumers and voters which was a "secret sauce'' it used to sway them more effectively than traditional advertising could.

One unanswered question in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into whether there was any collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia is whether Russia's Internet Research Agency or Russian intelligence used data Cambridge Analytica obtained from Facebook or other sources to help target and time anti-Hillary Clinton, pro-Trump and politically and racially divisive messages during the election.

Former White House aide Steve Bannon was a former vice president of the London-based firm, and Mueller has asked it to provide internal documents about how its data and analyses were used in the Trump campaign, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

The full statement by Cambridge Analytica:

"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.

"In light of those accusations, noted Queen’s Counsel Julian Malins was retained to conduct an independent investigation into the allegations regarding the Company’s political activities.

"Mr Malins report, which the Company posted on its website today, concluded that the allegations were not “borne out by the facts.”

Regarding the conclusions set forth in his report, Mr Malins stated:

“I had full access to all members of staff and documents in the preparation of my report.

"My findings entirely reflect the amazement of the staff, on watching the television programmes and reading the sensationalistic reporting, that any of these media outlets could have been talking about the company for which they worked.

"Nothing of what they heard or read resonated with what they actually did for a living.”

(Image: REUTERS)

Despite Cambridge Analytica’s unwavering confidence that its employees have acted ethically and lawfully, which view is now fully supported by Mr. Malins’ report, 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, which left Cambridge Analytica with no realistic alternative to placing the Company into administration.

While this decision was extremely painful for Cambridge Analytica’s leaders, they recognize that it is all the more difficult for the Company’s dedicated employees who learned today that they likely would be losing their jobs as a result of the damage caused to the business by the unfairly negative media coverage.

Despite the Company’s precarious financial condition, Cambridge Analytica intends to fully meet its obligations to its employees, including with respect to notice periods, severance terms, and redundancy entitlements.

Evidence given to MPs by Cambridge Analytica whistleblower:

Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie told MPs in March about the mysterious death of his predecessor in a Kenyan hotel room.

Mr Wylie was giving evidence to a parliamentary committee about his role in helping the data firm harvest tens of millions of Facebook profiles.

But he said he only learned months after taking the job at the firm that his predecessor, Dan Muresan had died.

Admitting what he was about to say was "pure speculation", he revealed what he "had heard" happened to Mr Muresan.

He said: "What I heard was that he was working on some kind of deal of some sort, I'm not sure what kind of deal it is.

"But when you work for senior politicians in a lot of these countries you don't actually make money in the electoral work, you make money in the influence brokering after the fact - and that a deal went sour.

"Again, this is what I've been told, so I'm not saying this as a matter of fact, but people suspected that he was poisoned in his hotel room."


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