Cambridge Analytica on Wednesday announced it would be filing for bankruptcy in the US and UK following the Facebook data collection scandal. Its parent company, SCL Elections, will also be closing.
In case you haven’t heard, Facebook in March was found to have shared data on 87 million users (without their consent) to a researcher who worked for Cambridge Analytica.
Cambridge Analytica is a British political consulting firm that worked for the Trump campaign. The company, founded in 2013 with an interest in US elections, provides targeted advertising, consumer research, and other data-related services for political and corporate clients.
Co-founders of the company are hedge fund billionaire and GOP mega-donor Robert Mercer and Breitbart CEO Stephen Bannon, who worked for Trump as his chief strategist for about eight months before hearing the president’s favorite phrase.
Cambridge Analytica obtained information on Facebook users and their friends through a quiz developed by Russian American researcher Aleksandr Kogan, who sold the data to Cambridge.
Facebook says Cambridge violated the site’s data policy when it purchased the ill-gotten data from Kogan.
Cambridge insists it did not use Kogan’s data in its work for the Trump campaign and has blamed “unfairly negative media coverage” for driving away virtually all its customers and suppliers.
“Over the past several months, Cambridge Analytic 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,” said the company in a statement.
Despite its “precarious financial condition,” Cambridge “intends to fully meet its obligations to its employees, including with respect to notice periods, severance terms, and redundancy entitlements.”
In March, a British broadcaster aired footage showing Cambridge CEO Alexander Nix admitting the company blackmails political clients’ rivals.