NEWS
03/05/2018 12:25 AM IST | Updated 03/05/2018 3:29 AM IST

Cambridge Analytica Is Shutting Down After Facebook Controversy

The political research firm said it has been the subject of “numerous unfounded accusations.”

Embattled political research firm Cambridge Analytica is closing all of its operations with plans to file for bankruptcy in the U.S., it announced on Wednesday.

The London-based company, which was hired by President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, was outed in March as having harvested personal data on millions of Facebook users, without their knowledge, for marketing and political purposes.

In a statement on its website, the firm said it has been the subject of “numerous unfounded accusations” and “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.”

The decision to close up shop followed rising legal fees and a loss of clients over the investigation into their work and use of Facebook data, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the situation.

Shortly after the scandal broke, the firm announced an independent investigation into its practices. The results of that investigation, which were shared on the company’s website this week, stated that the allegations against the firm were not “borne out by the facts.”

The Washington Post via Getty Images
Alexander Nix, who was suspended as Cambridge Analytica's CEO in March, is seen at the company's New York City office in 2016.

The firm also suspended its CEO, Alexander Nix, in March after he was recorded bragging about Cambridge Analytica and its parent company, Strategic Communication Laboratories, influencing more than 200 elections around the world with unethical practices.

Those methods included bribery, entrapment and the use of sex workers and inaccurate information. Nix had said that he was lying when he said that. 

Cambridge Analytica did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The founders and funders of Cambridge Analytica registered a new company in London last August called Emerdata Limited, according to business filings reported on in March.

Rebekah and Jennifer Mercer ― whose billionaire father Robert Mercer funded Cambridge Analytica as well as SCL Group and Trump’s election campaign ― were listed as directors of the company. Nix and SCL Group Chairman Julian Wheatland were named among Emerdata’s directors.

This story has been updated with more background information.