Political consultancy, Cambridge Analytica is under fire for using millions of Facebook users’ data. Insolvency proceedings are starting to commence.
Although SCL Group (Strategic Communication Laboratories) and its Cambridge Analytica consultancy were at the center of this year’s Facebook privacy row, it is nearing its end.
The Observer reported that the personal data of about 50 million Americans and at least a million Britons had been harvested from Facebook and improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica. Since then, the company has been plagued by the scandal.
According to Cambridge Analytica, they deny any wrongdoing, but the negative media coverage has left it with no clients and mounting legal fees. Therefore, the company must come to its close.
Cambridge Analytica said it had 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.”
“Despite Cambridge Analytica’s unwavering confidence that its employees have acted ethically and lawfully, the siege of media coverage has driven away virtually all of the Company’s customers and suppliers,” said the company in a statement.
“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 added.
Cambridge Analytica has started insolvency proceedings in the US and UK. The issue centers around data collected from Facebook users via a personality app developed by the Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan.
The data was collected via Facebook’s permissive “Graph API,” the interface through which third parties could interact with Facebook’s platform. This allowed Kogan to pull data about users and their friends, including likes, activities, check-ins, location, photos, religion, politics and relationship details. He passed the data to Cambridge Analytica, in breach of Facebook’s platform policies.
With the scandal circulating and eyeing on Kogan, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today program that he was being used as a scapegoat.
“My view is that I’m used as a scapegoat by both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. Honestly, we thought we were acting perfectly appropriately. We thought we were doing something that was normal,” Kogan stated.