Published: Sat, March 17, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Facebook has suspended Cambridge Analytica, a Trump-linked data firm

Facebook has suspended Cambridge Analytica, a Trump-linked data firm

Facebook is suspending the Trump-affiliated data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica, after learning that it failed to delete data that it had taken inappropriately from users of the social network, Facebook said late Friday (March 16).

In 2015, when Facebook learned that Kogan had shared the results of his research on Facebook users with Cambridge Analytica and Wylie, they asked them to delete the data, and received assurances from both that this had been done.

It's not clear to what extent Cambridge Analytica helped (Parscale denied that Cambridge was of any use in a recent 60 Minutes interview), but we do know that Trump's digital operation was shockingly effective.

A report issued by a London-based Privacy International, that fights for privacy in the world, said that ahead of the 2017 General Election, Cambridge Analytica led online campaigns that either targeted Nasa leader Raila Odinga or touted President Kenyatta's accomplishment. Grewal says the company found out about Kogan's actions in 2015 and removed his app and "demanded certifications from Kogan and all parties he had given data to that the information had been destroyed". "He also passed that data to Christopher Wylie of Eunoia Technologies, Inc", the statement said.

The move comes as Facebook continues to deal with fallout from the 2016 presidential election.

Mr Trump's campaign hired Cambridge Analytica in June 2016 and paid it more than US$6.2 million, according to Federal Election Commission records.

"We are moving aggressively to determine the accuracy of these claims", Facebook said, Chicago Tribune reported. "We are suspending SCL/Cambridge Analytica, Wylie and Kogan from Facebook, pending further information". Cambridge Analytica did not immediately respond to a request for comment. If true, this is another unacceptable violation of trust and the commitments they made. While the exact nature of their role remains somewhat mysterious, Facebook's disclosure suggests that the company improperly obtained user data that could have given it an unfair advantage in reaching voters.

Another major step taken by the White House against Moscow include the new sanctions which will ban USA citizens and financial institutions from doing business with five Russian groups, including the Russian Federal Security Service, the country's military intelligence apparatus, and the digital propaganda outfit called the Internet Research Agency, as well as 19 people named in the election-meddling case.

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