The data gathering firm at the epicenter of Facebook privacy row has closed its offices and started insolvency proceedings.
Cambridge Analytica, has announced in a statement it is closing its business down after fighting months of accusations that it improperly obtained the personal information of thousands of Facebook users on behalf of political clients, and may also have improperly influenced the outcome of the 2016 US presidential elections.
According to figures provided by Facebook itself, personal data from around some 87 million of its members was harvested by a quiz app and then directly given to the political consultancy.
The fallout and ensuing political scandal has apparently left the company with no clients and no money.
The company has been plagued by the scandal ever since the Observer newspaper in the UK published a story that alleged the personal data of about 50 million Americans had been harvested from Facebook and improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.
From the start however, Cambridge Analytica’s has asserted that it has done nothing wrong, and had merely been engaging in the same practice as dozens of other companies world-wide and who still do (the last part is true enough) the company is no longer trading.
In a statement released by the company, it said that it had “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…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”.
The company also claimed that it had been “vilified” both by the media, Facebook, and politicians “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”.
For its part, Facebook who are no doubt breathing somewhat easier now that Cambridge Analytica no longer exists, have said that its own probe into the entire issue of data harvesting will continue.
“This doesn’t change our commitment and determination to understand exactly what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again”, a spokesperson for Facebook said. “We are continuing with our investigation in cooperation with the relevant authorities”.
Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, Facebook has implemented a raft of changes to its privacy settings and data sharing practices.