Facebook has suspended Cambridge Analytica over allegations that it kept improperly obtained user data after telling the social media giant it had been deleted.
Facebook Inc on Friday said it was suspending political data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica, which worked for President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign, after finding data privacy policies had been violated. They said in a statement that it suspended Cambridge Analytica and its parent group Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL) after receiving reports that they did not delete information about Facebook users that had been inappropriately shared.
Cambridge Analytica was not immediately available for comment. Facebook did not mention the Trump campaign or any political campaigns in its statement, attributed to company Deputy General Counsel Paul Grewal.
“After the discovery of this violation in 2015, Facebook demanded certifications from Kogan and all parties he had given data to that the information had been destroyed.” -GrewAL
Cambridge Analytica’s goal, starting in 2013, was to use data modeling to influence voters based on their emotional makeup. Data scientist and former Cambridge Analytica employee Christopher Wylie, speaking to The Guardian, described this as an effort to “target their inner demons.”
Trump’s campaign hired Cambridge Analytica in June 2016 and paid it more than $6.2 million, according to Federal Election Commission records. Cambridge Analytica says it uses “behavioral microtargeting”, or combining analysis of people’s personalities with demographics, to predict and influence mass behavior. It says it has data on 220 million Americans, two thirds of the U.S. population.
Trump campaign officials downplayed Cambridge Analytica’s role, saying they briefly used the company for television advertising and paid some of its most skilled data employees.It denied using Cambridge Analytic’s data, saying it instead relied on information from the Republican National Committee (RNC).
“Using the RNC data was one of the best choices the campaign made. Any claims that voter data were used from another source to support the victory in 2016 are false.” -Trump Campaign