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Cambridge Analytica is shutting down following Facebook data scandal

Karma is a cruel mistress….

DATA GOBBLER Cambridge Analytica has suspended its operations and filed for bankruptcy following accusations of dodgy dealings with Facebook user data.

The company claimed it has been “vilified” for its use of data, which it said was “not only legal, but also widely accepted as a standard component of online advertising in both the political and commercial arenas”.

As a result of being portrayed as a shadowy, manipulative firm, Cambridge Analytica said the whole situation with Facebook has “driven away virtually all” of the company’s customers and suppliers. Oh, the humanity.

Facebook took a large dose of mea culpa regarding its failure to protect the illegitimate use of the user data it collects and noted that data was syphoned from some 87 million users as part of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

But Cambridge Analytic has staunchly denied that it did any wrong and has been the victim of nasty reports from those mean journalist types… yeah, OK.

“Over the past several months, Cambridge Analytica has been the subject of numerous unfounded accusations and, despite the company’s efforts to correct the record, has been vilified for activities that are not only legal, but also widely accepted as a standard component of online advertising in both the political and commercial arenas,” the firm said.

The company that prided itself on being able to “change audience behaviour” appears to have not spotted the irony of claiming that opinions and behaviours have been changed against it. 

Sticking to its guns, Cambridge Analytica noted that the Queen’s Counsel Julian Malins, tasked with probing the London-based company over its dodgy data use,  found that the allegations were not “bourne out by the facts”.

Yet in spite of a report that casts shade on the allegations, Cambridge Analytica is still shutting up shop… [insert something about no smoke without fire here].

“Despite Cambridge Analytica’s unwavering confidence that its employees have acted ethically and lawfully, which view is now fully supported by Mr Malins’ report, the siege of media coverage has driven away virtually all of the company’s customers and suppliers,” the company said.

“As a result, it has been determined that it is no longer viable to continue operating the business, which left Cambridge Analytica with no realistic alternative to placing the company into administration.”

We can’t help but think this ‘woe is us’ statement is perhaps a tad over the top. For example, Cambridge Analytica said it has basically got its employees’ backs and will meet its obligations to pay notice periods, severance terms and so on.

But according to Gizmodo, Cambridge Analytics employees in the US found out about their upcoming job losses when they were ordered to hand over their company keycards; hardly the most supportive way to inform people that they’ll be losing their jobs.

Now cynicism – *waves* – could argue that by shutting up shop Cambridge Analytica might be attempting to avoid receiving any more scrutiny and thus any punishments that come with it.

This is the view Damian Collins, chairman of parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, which is probing Cambridge Analytica, subscribes to.

“They are party to very serious investigations and those investigations cannot be impeded by the closure of these companies,” he told Reuters.

“I think it’s absolutely vital that the closure of these companies is not used as an excuse to try and limit or restrict the ability of the authorities to investigate what they were doing.”

We’ll have to wait and see how the whole situation plays out, but we’re not going to shed a tear for Cambridge Analytica, because even if its work with data is legit it’s pretty morally grey, particularly after its now-suspended chief exec Alexander Nix was caught on camera boasting that the company helped get Trump the US presidency. µ

Source : Inquirer

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