Cambridge Analytica, the political consulting firm that has found itself in a firestorm of controversy recently, announced on Wednesday that it would be closing operations and filing for bankruptcy. This announcement comes after the company has been the focus of political scrutiny due its business practices and the part it has allegedly played in the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump.
For those who are not already aware of the scandal, it was discovered two months ago that Cambridge Analytica and Facebook were involved in the compromise of personal information of about 87 million individuals. It was alleged that this personal information was given to Russian bots or other companies and individuals who were a part of creating propaganda to help influence the Presidential election.
In a statement, Cambridge Analytica said the controversy had driven away essentially all of its customers, resulting in having to file for bankruptcy in both the United States and Britain. It will also be shutting down the elections division of SCL Group, the Cambridge British affiliate.
However, now that the announcement has been made, many are questioning who will hold the company’s intellectual property, which includes the voter profiles that were a part of the data release from Facebook. Where will this information go now that the company is no longer in business?
The company said it conducted its own independent investigation, results of which were released on Wednesday. In its results, Cambridge Analytica seemed to downplay the assertions that were made by former employees about how it acquired the data from Facebook, and the information also downplayed the role Christopher Wylie, the contractor who ended up being the whistle-blower on the whole deal, calling the role Wylie played “very modest.”
Cambridge Analytica is financially backed by a wealthy Republican donor, Robert Mercer, who is said to have invested at least $15 million of his money in the company. The company has been said to have offered tools to help identify the personalities of the typical American voter and ways to influence their behavior. These techniques were what led the company’s work for the Trump campaign, as well as other candidates in the 2014 and 2016 elections. It was the help these techniques gave to the Trump campaign, however, which has brought the company under such scrutiny, scrutiny that has apparently led to the company’s financial downfall.
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