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Facebook suspends data analytics firm that worked for Trump campaign

From Reuters - March 16, 2018

(Reuters) - Facebook Inc on Friday said it was suspending political data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica, which worked for President Donald Trumps 2016 election campaign, after finding data privacy policies had been violated.

Facebook said in a statement that it suspended Cambridge Analytica and its parent group Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL) after receiving reports that they did not delete information about Facebook users that had been inappropriately shared.

Cambridge Analytica was not immediately available for comment. Facebook did not mention the Trump campaign or any political campaigns in its statement, attributed to company Deputy General Counsel Paul Grewal.

We will take legal action if necessary to hold them responsible and accountable for any unlawful behavior, Facebook said, adding that it was continuing to investigate the claims.

Cambridge Analytica worked for the failed presidential campaign of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and then for the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. On its website, it says it provided the Donald J. Trump for President campaign with the expertise and insights that helped win the White House.

Brad Parscale, who ran Trumps digital ad operation in 2016 and is his 2020 campaign manager, declined to comment on Friday.

In past interviews with Reuters, Parscale has said that Cambridge Analytica played a minor role as a contractor in the 2016 Trump campaign, and that the campaign used voter data from a Republican-affiliated organization rather than Cambridge Analytica.

Facebooks Grewal said the company was taking the unusual step of announcing the suspension given the public prominence of Cambridge Analytica and its parent organization.

The suspension means Cambridge Analytica and SCL cannot buy ads on the worlds largest social media network or administer pages belonging to clients, Andrew Bosworth, a Facebook vice president, said in a Twitter post.

Trumps campaign hired Cambridge Analytica in June 2016 and paid it more than $6.2 million, according to Federal Election Commission records.

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