London (AFP) – Cambridge Analytica, the UK marketing analytics firm at the heart of the Facebook data scandal, announced Wednesday it was “immediately ceasing all operations” and filing for insolvency in Britain and the United States.
“It has been determined that it is no longer viable to continue operating the business,” the company, accused of misusing tens of millions of Facebook users’ data, said in a statement.
Cambridge Analytica (CA), hired by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, said it had been “vilified” in recent months over “numerous unfounded accusations”, which had decimated its business.
It has vehemently denied exploiting Facebook users’ data for the election campaign of US President Donald Trump following revelations it gathered up profile information via a personality prediction app.
Facebook has admitted that up to 87 million users may have had their data hijacked by the firm.
CA claims it deleted data about Facebook users obtained in breach of the social network’s terms of service.
The company said it hired British barrister Julian Malins to conduct an independent investigation into the allegations, whose report it posted on its website Wednesday.
“(The) report…concluded that the allegations were not ‘borne out by the facts’”, CA said.
“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.”
Its board has appointed lawyers in Britain to oversee the insolvency process, and would be following suit in America, CA added.
“While this decision was extremely painful for Cambridge Analytica’s leaders, they recognize that it is all the more difficult for the Company’s dedicated employees who learned today that they likely would be losing their jobs as a result of the damage caused to the business by the unfairly negative media coverage,” it said in the statement.
Noting its financial condition was precarious, it added: “Cambridge Analytica intends to fully meet its obligations to its employees, including with respect to notice periods, severance terms, and redundancy entitlements.”