In a bombshell announcement on Friday night, Facebook announced that it is suspending Cambridge Analytica, the data analysis firm that helped Donald Trump win the presidency. The social network said that it had recently learned that CA had not deleted all of the personal data it had improperly obtained from millions of users, via a personality prediction app that used a Facebook login. The firm was given the data by Aleksandr Kogan, a Cambridge professor given access to the data as part of a study he was conducting.
CA, which has touted its ability to create personality profiles of voters for ad targeting purposes, was hired to run data operations for the Trump campaign. In December, it was asked by Special Counsel Robert Mueller to hand over documents as part of Mueller’s ongoing investigation into any collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign during the election.
In a statement posted tonight, Facebook’s VP and deputy general counsel Paul Grewal said that when Facebook learned about the data usage in 2015, it removed the app and Kogan and CA told the social network that it had deleted all the data. But, Grewal noted, “Several days ago, we received reports that, contrary to the certifications we were given, not all data was deleted. We are moving aggressively to determine the accuracy of these claims. If true, this is another unacceptable violation of trust and the commitments they made. We are suspending SCL/Cambridge Analytica, Wylie and Kogan from Facebook, pending further information.”
This story has been updated.