The political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica will be shutting down soon, along with its British parent company SCL Elections. This is due to the Facebook privacy scandal that led their board members to decide that they would be shutting it down. After the infamous Facebook privacy scandal, the legal fees of Cambridge Analytica were mounting higher and higher, and the clients started to leave this firm in the wake of revelations about its use of Facebook data.
Back in 2014, Cambridge Analytica exploited the privacy settings of many Facebook users to scrape data on the non-consenting friends of people who used a certain personality quiz app. This is not the end of the story, though. Cambridge Analytica is said to have scraped the personal data of as many as 87 million people even though they had not used the personality quiz app. It was reported later that only 300,000 people gave their permission to share their data.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has admitted his mistake and was still called to appear before the U.S Senate hearing to provide explanations. With the help of this data, the firm built a “psychographic” profile of U.S voters to help the current President Donald Trump campaign. The Russian government has also been accused of having playing a part in this scam. However, Trump’s campaign is now under investigation for alleged collusion with the Russian government. The Cambridge Scandal has prompted government investigations of the U.S and in Europe.
One of the Cambridge Analytica officials has released a statement saying, “With mounting legal fees and vanishing clients in the wake of revelations about its use of Facebook data, political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica and its British parent company, SCL Elections, are shutting down. 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.” They have also mentioned that, “the subject of numerous unfounded accusations, and 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.”