Cambridge Analytica, the data firm at the heart of the Facebook privacy scandal and a company that some credit for Donald Trump’s election victory, is ceasing all operations effective today. According to the Wall Street Journal, an anonymous source confirmed that the company is ceasing all operations today and closing down its office. Gizmodo has also reviewed documentation suggesting that the firm’s parent company, the SCL Group, is shuttering all of its US offices and cutting off security access for workers.
According to Gizmodo‘s report, the news was announced to SCL Group employees by Julian Wheatland, the current chairman of the SCL Group. Wheatland reportedly told employees that any effort to rebrand the company would be “futile” in the current environment.
“In explaining the decision to close the offices, Wheatland cited the ongoing investigations into Cambridge Analytica’s massive data harvesting scandal, damage to the company’s reputation, and loss of clients,” Gizmodo‘s report says. Numerous reports have said that Cambridge Analytica “promised clients more than it delivered,” and people inside the political campaigns of Ted Cruz and Donald Trump have suggested that Cambridge Analytica’s work and impact has been vastly overblown.
The revelation that Cambridge Analytica paid a psychology professor to write a personality app which scraped the user profiles of 50 million Facebook users has caused a major privacy scandal for Facebook, resulting in Mark Zuckerberg publicly grovelling before Congress, new privacy features, and a slightly successful consumer movement to delete Facebook.