Cambridge Analytica, the beleaguered Trump-connected consulting firm at the center of a Facebook data scandal, shut down all its operations Wednesday, according to company executives.
SCL Group, the British data firm’s parent company, announced the news in a press release lamenting a barrage of damning media coverage that has “driven away virtually all of the company’s customers and suppliers.”
“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,” SCL Group said.
A New York-based staffer told the New York Daily News he and his colleagues were ordered to immediately return their keycards and other company belongings.
Cambridge Analytica brass said the company arrived at the decision because efforts to overhaul the firm’s image in light of the Facebook scandal proved ineffective.
The embattled consulting firm continues to face backlash over mining data on 87 million Facebook users that it used to sway American voters while working for President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Cambridge Analytica used the data to create complex algorithms meant to influence voters while doing analytics and other election-related outreach for the Trump campaign.
Ex-Cambridge Analytica employee Christopher Wylie told House Democrats last week that the firm was set up as a “full-service propaganda machine” for the Trump campaign, creating and promoting factually dubious information to spread discontent among American voters.
SCL Group maintained Wednesday that Cambridge Analytica employees acted “ethically and lawfully” while working for the Trump campaign.
Facebook has apologized in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, conceding it should have done more to prevent the data firm from obtaining and using personal data on millions of users.