UK-based political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, which has been involved in controversies over manipulating Facebook users’ data during elections in various countries, has announced to shut down its operations.
The news was announced during a press conference led by Julian Wheatland (Chairman of the SCL Group) who was on the list to become Cambridge Analytica’s next CEO. Both Cambridge Analytica and SCL Elections (the SCL Group subsidiary connected to Cambridge Analytica) will close their doors.
In the press statement, it was also mentioned that SCL Elections has filed for insolvency and bankruptcy proceedings will begin soon for Cambridge Analytica as well.
Unfairly negative media coverage around the Facebook incident 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, the statement added.
Despite uncertain financial conditions, Cambridge Analytica intends to fully meet its obligations to its employees, including with respect to notice periods, severance terms, and redundancy entitlements.
Globally, data on about 87 million people may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.
In the U.S, the data was allegedly used to influence the voters’ psychology and manoeuvring public opinion towards the Republican Party (Donald Trump).
Meanwhile, Facebook also said that data of estimated 562,455 Indians may have been accessed through 335 app installations by Indians.
Facebook has been under the scanner for manipulating voters’ mindset through vested propaganda. Indian ruling alliance NDA, as well as the opposition Indian National Congress, are facing alleged connections with the research firm.
Following the breach, Facebook apologised and experienced public outcry and later called the way that Cambridge Analytica collected the ‘inappropriate data’.
The scandal led to Cambridge Analytica’s chief executive Alexander Nix to lose his job and the data mining firm also launched an independent investigation to determine if the company was involved in such activities.
Notably, the matter is not limited to Facebook only. Earlier this week, Twitter also admitted selling data to the Cambridge University academic Aleksandr Kogan’s Global Science Research (GSR).
The development was first reported by Gizmodo.