Controversial political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica announced that it is shutting down.
The firm, which was at the centre of the Facebook data-sharing scandal, said it is no longer viable to continue operating the business due to the recent “siege of media coverage” that’s driven away most of its customers.
Cambridge Analytica was accused of gathering the personal information of people, without their knowledge, and then passing on the data to political clients.
Facebook says that an app gathered data of 87 million of its members. This information was then passed on to Cambridge Analytica.
The data was allegedly used to psychologically profile voters in the US.
Cambridge Analytica denies that it broke any laws and says that it didn’t use the information gathered in the US presidential election.
Facebook launched a probe into the matter and said it will continue its investigation into what happened.
“This doesn’t change our commitment and determination to understand exactly what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” said a Facebook spokesman.
“We are continuing with our investigation in cooperation with the relevant authorities.”
Cambridge Analytica said in a statement:
“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.
“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 political consultancy’s parent company, SCL Elections, is commencing bankruptcy proceedings.
The firm’s decision to shut down doesn’t mean there’s going to be a restriction into what authorities are investigating, said chair of a UK parliament committee investigating the firm’s activities.
Damian Collins MP, was quoted by the BBC as saying:
“They are party to very serious investigations and those investigations cannot be impeded by the closure of these companies.”
“I think it’s absolutely vital that the closure of these companies is not used as an excuse to try and limit or restrict the ability of the authorities to investigate what they were doing,” Collins added.