Facebook suspends Cambridge Analytica & SCL Group accounts

Facebook has suspended Cambridge Analytica

The attorney general for the state of MA is launching an investigation into alleged harvesting of Facebook profiles by a firm employed by Donald Trump's election campaign.

The harvested user information, collected under the guise of academic research, included the private social media activity of more than 50 million people.

Cambridge Analytica says it uses "behavioral microtargeting", or combining analysis of people's personalities with demographics, to predict and influence mass behavior. It was funded by Trump's billionaire donor Robert Mercer, and Bannon once served on its board. He also passed that data to Christopher Wylie of Eunoia Technologies.

Cambridge Analytica has denied any wrongdoing, saying that although it had hired Kogan to carry out research, it deleted his information when they learned it had been obtained under suspicious circumstances.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said Saturday it's important "the public are fully aware of how information is used and shared in modern political campaigns and the potential impact on their privacy". The data was then used to tailor campaign messages that could take advantage of voters' personality traits.

The United Kingdom's Information Commission also announced on Saturday they are conducting an investigation of Cambridge Analytica, which also had clients in the country.

But Wylie said in the initial interview that this wasn't about getting back at Cambridge Analytica, noting that "if it was about revenge I could have done this years ago".

A Cambridge Analytica spokesman said GSR "was contractually committed by us to only obtain data in accordance with the UK Data Protection Act and to seek the informed consent of each respondent".

It added that was suspending Cambridge Analytica, SCL and Kogan from its platform.

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Facebook is suspending political data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica, which worked for US President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign, after finding data privacy policies had been violated. But the suspended users would need to take unspecified steps to certify that they would comply with Facebook's terms of service.

The reason behind the suspension of Cambridge Analytica was explained to have been due to received reports it refrained from destroying violated data about the social media giant.

"We were forced to take action against Mr. Christopher Wylie to prevent his misuse of the company's intellectual property and he is the subject of restraining undertakings in this regard", the spokesman said.

Facebook vice president and deputy general counsel Paul Grewal insisted on Friday that while the platform's terms were violated, "no systems were infiltrated, and no passwords or sensitive pieces of information were stolen or hacked".

Cambridge Analytica, Kogan and Wylie could not immediately be reached for comment.

In a statement today, the company said it only uses data "obtained legally and fairly".

Cambridge Analytica is largely owned by the wealthy, secretive and deeply conservative Robert Mercer, a major Trump supporter, according to USA media reports.

Cambridge Analytica refuted the claims and said that it was not involved in any negative political content. To overcome this obstacle, the firm roped in University of Cambridge professor Aleksandr Kogan who built an app called thisisyourdigitallife.

Ahead of the 2017 elections, Jubilee Party is said to have contracted the services of Cambridge Analytica to manage part of its campaign.

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