The data firm at the center of Facebook’s privacy scandal is declaring bankruptcy and shutting down. In a statement, Cambridge Analytica says it has been “vilified” for actions it says are both legal and widely accepted as part of online advertising. The firm says the media furor stripped it of its customers and suppliers, forcing it to close.
Cambridge Analytica has been linked to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. The British firm suspended CEO Alexander Tayler in April amid investigations.
Cambridge Analytica sought information on Facebook to build psychological profiles on a large portion of the U.S. electorate. The company was able to amass the database quickly with the help of an app that appeared to be a personality test. The app collected data on tens of millions of people and their Facebook friends, even those who did not download the app themselves.
Facebook has since tightened its privacy restrictions. Cambridge has denied wrongdoing, and Trump’s campaign has said it didn’t use Cambridge’s data.
The firm has said it is committed to helping the U.K. investigation into Facebook and how it uses data. But U.K. Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said in March the firm failed to meet a deadline to produce the information requested.
Denham said the prime allegation against Cambridge Analytica is that it acquired personal data in an unauthorized way, adding that the data provisions act requires services like Facebook to have strong safeguards against misuse of data.