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Cambridge Analytica: Facebook data-harvest firm to shut

Cambridge Analytica, the data consultancy at the heart of the Facebook data-sharing scandal, is shutting down and declaring bankruptcy. The firm was accused of improperly obtaining personal information on behalf of clients, some of whom included well known publishers as well as numerous political parties across the globe.

A statement on the firm’s website says,

“Over the past several months, Cambridge Analytica 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,” it said.

“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.

“As a result, it has been determined that it is no longer viable to continue operating the business.”

The statement will place further focus on the advertising industry, not least because Cambridge Analytica underlines its view that what it did was not only legal but was a standard practice in online advertising.

Questions remain over what will happen to the company’s intellectual property and whether there will be any interest in purchasing what remains of the business. The UK’s Financial Times says it has spoken to an ex-employee of Cambridge Analytica, on condition of anonymity, who said they were sure the company would emerge “in some other incarnation or guise”.

Indeed, several of the individuals involved in Cambridge Analytica, including Alexander Nix, have registered a new company named Emerdata – although it is not clear what their immediate plans are for the business.

Further reading:

Guardian: Cambridge Analytica closure – questions and answers

Fast Company: Cambridge Analytica’s Major Players: Where Are They Now?