Cambridge Analytica, UK parent shut down - Taipei Times
Fri, May 04, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Cambridge Analytica, UK parent shut down

UNDER FIRE:Britain’s data regulator said that it would continue civil and criminal investigations of the firm and monitor closely any successor companies

Reuters

US carrier Monica Plummer looks for someone to sign for their mail in the empty offices of Cambridge Analytica in Washington on Wednesday.

Photo: Reuters

Cambridge Analytica, the firm embroiled in a controversy over its handling of Facebook Inc user data, and its British parent SCL Elections Ltd, are shutting down immediately after suffering a sharp drop in business, the company said on Wednesday.

The company is to begin bankruptcy proceedings, it said, after losing clients and facing mounting legal fees resulting from the scandal over reports it harvested personal data about millions of Facebook users beginning in 2014.

“The siege of media coverage has driven away virtually all of the Company’s customers and suppliers,” the statement said. “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.”

Allegations of the improper use of data for 87 million Facebook users by Cambridge Analytica, which was hired by then-US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, has hurt the shares of the world’s biggest social network and prompted multiple official investigations in the US and Europe.

The firm shut down effective Wednesday and employees were told to turn in their computers, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier.

The Cambridge Analytica sign had been removed from the reception area of its London offices on Wednesday. At SCL’s Washington office, a man declined to answer questions from a reporter.

After the announcement, Britain’s data regulator said it would continue civil and criminal investigations of the firm, and would pursue “individuals and directors as appropriate” despite the shutdown.

“We will also monitor closely any successor companies using our powers to audit and inspect, to ensure the public is safeguarded,” an Information Commissioner’s Office spokeswoman said in a statement.

Cambridge Analytica was created around 2013 initially with a focus on US elections, with US$15 million in backing from billionaire Republican donor Robert Mercer and a name chosen by future Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon, the New York Times reported.

The company marketed itself as a provider of consumer research, targeted advertising and other data-related services to both political and corporate clients.

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