The data analytics firm at the centre of Facebook's privacy scandal claims the opprobrium levelled at it by the media led to its bankruptcy.
Cambridge Analytica has had a parting shot at the media, after filing applications to commence insolvency proceedings on Wednesday in the UK, and shutting down operations effective immediately.
Employees of the company have already returned their computers.
Gizmodo revealed the announcement of Cambridge Analytica’s bankruptcy came via a conference call led by Julian Wheatland, the current chairman of parent company SCL Group.
According to The Wall Street Journal, SCL Group and affiliate SCL Elections are also closing their doors in the US and UK.
But the big data firm — which scraped and stored data from at least 80 million Facebook users to create targeted advertising on behalf of the Donald Trump election campaign — said it had unfairly copped the brunt of the global media attention, leading to a crippling loss of customers and suppliers.
“Despite Cambridge Analytica’s unwavering confidence that its employees have acted ethically and lawfully, which view is now fully supported by [a third-party audit], the siege of media coverage has driven away virtually all of the Company’s customers and suppliers,” the company said in a statement.
The siege of media coverage has driven away virtually all of the Company’s customers and suppliers.
“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.”
It has tried desperately to defend the role it played in the affair that forced American lawmakers to step in.
In one tweet, it said: “We engaged in good faith to legally supply data for research,” and in another it wrote: “It’s open season for anyone to say what they like about Cambridge Analytica… We’re accused of everything from stealing data to distorting democracies.”
It's open season for anyone to say what they like about Cambridge Analytica. We're accused of everything from stealing data to distorting democracies, but those depictions of the company are completely unrecognisable to anyone who works here.
— Cambridge Analytica (@CamAnalytica) April 16, 2018
The company has now conceded the fight is over though, with Wheatland saying any attempt to rebrand would be “futile”.
“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 statement read.