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Facebook data scandal fallout: Cambridge Analytica shuts down all offices; to file for bankruptcy

UK based marketing analytics firm Cambridge Analytica has announced that it was shutting down and would file for insolvency in the United States and Britain after failing to recover from the Facebook data privacy scandal.

Edited by: India TV News Desk, London [ Updated: May 03, 2018 8:21 IST ]
Cambridge Analytica announced that it would 'cease all its
Image Source : AP

Cambridge Analytica announced that it would 'cease all its operations'

UK based marketing analytics scandal, which has been at the heart of the massive Facebook data privacy scandal, announced on Wednesday that it was immediately ceasing all its operations.

It also said that it would file for insolvency in the United States and Britain after failing to recover from the Facebook data scandal --  a move likely to hit its operations in India as well. 

The decision follows weeks of intense pressure on the company after allegations emerged that it might have hijacked private data of up to 87 million Facebook users. 

The company denied any wrongdoing, but claimed that it has been 'vilified' by the 'numerous unfounded accusations' which torpedoed its business and left the firm with no 'realistic alternative' rather than resorting to closure.

"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"; it said in a statement.

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

An affiliate of the British firm Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), Cambridge Analytica has offices in London, New York, Washington D.C., as well as Brazil and Malaysia.

It first became embroiled in a massive data breach scandal in March when Canadian whistleblower Christopher Wylie, a former analyst of the firm revealed that it had created psychological profiles of millions of Facebook users via a personality prediction app.

The startling revelations instantly reverberated around the world, wiping billions from the social media giant's market value and drawing scrutiny from politicians and regulators from both the US and the UK.

To make things worse for Cambridge Analytica, its CEO Alexander Nix was suspended within days after he was filmed by undercover reporters bragging about ways to win political campaigns using tactics like blackmailing and honey trapping.

As the crisis intensified, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was forced to apologise to its billions of users. He eventually appeared before the US Congress for two-day grilling lawmakers. Since then Facebook has vowed to overhaul the way it shares its users' data.

A second whistleblower from the firm also emerged earlier this month, when he revealed that Britons' personal data have been misused by a pro-Brexit campaign  ahead of the 2016 referendum in which Britain had voted to leave the European Union.

However, Cambridge Analytica has denied the allegations of exploiting President Trump's election campaign, claiming that it had deleted the data obtained in breach of the social network's terms of service.

Meanwhile, firm said that it has appointed lawyers to oversee the insolvency process in Britain and would be following suit in the United States.

(With inputs from agencies)

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