Facebook has suspended the Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL) and Cambridge Analytica for violating the social network’s policies. The two companies were running data operations for the 2016 presidential campaign that put Donald Trump at the head of the United States White House. The companies have often been credited for for being responsible for Trump’s victory.
It is alleged that the data was collected through a Facebook-based application called thisisyourdigitallife, wherein users were paid to take a personality test and agreed to have their data collected for academic use only. “Approximately 270,000 people downloaded the app. In so doing, they gave their consent for [developer] Kogan to access information such as the city they set on their profile, or content they had liked, as well as more limited information about friends,” the social media giant said.
“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,” the company wrote in a blog post.
“We are suspending Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), including their political data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica, from Facebook. Given the public prominence of this organization, we want to take a moment to explain how we came to this decision and why,” the company posted later in an update.
In the meanwhile, Cambridge Analytica responded to Facebook with a counter statement, claiming that it deleted all of its data after learning that Global Science Research did not comply with Facebook’s Terms of Service and "is currently in touch with Facebook following its recent statement that it had suspended the company from its platform, in order to resolve this matter as quickly as possible."