US social media company Facebook says it has suspended the account of Cambridge Analytica, an American-British data analysis firm hired in 2016 by US President Donald Trump’s election campaign, amid reports it collected the personal information of millions of American voters without their permission.
The accounts of its parent organization, Strategic Communication Laboratories, were also suspended, as well as those of University of Cambridge psychologist Aleksandr Kogan and Christopher Wylie, a Canadian data analytics expert who worked with Kogan, according to The New York Times and The Observer.
The social networking service stole the profile information of 50 million Facebook users in the tech giant’s biggest-ever data breach, to help them design software to predict and influence voters’ choices at the ballot box, profiles, the two newspapers reported.
Cambridge Analytica was financed by US hedge fund billionaire and Republican Party donor Robert Mercer to the tune of $15 million. The Observer, a UK newspaper, said Cambridge Analytica was headed at the time by Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist until he was fired in August.