Cambridge Analytica, the political consulting firm that worked on President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and has been embroiled in a data scandal with Facebook, is shutting down its business.
According to news from The Wall Street Journal, Nigel Oakes, the founder of SCL Group, Cambridge Analytica’s British affiliate, confirmed to the paper that the two businesses are shutting down. In March, Cambridge Analytica suspended CEO Alexander Nix and launched its own inquiry into the scandal, in which Cambridge Analytica accessed the data on 87 million Facebook users without their permission. The WSJ reported the company decided to shut down because it was losing clients and was facing legal fees related to the Facebook investigation.
The shutdown is effective Wednesday (May 2), with employees being told to hand back in their computers. In addition to the Facebook scandal, CEO Nix was filmed boasting about tactics the firm used, including entrapping political adversaries with bribes and sex.
The WSJ noted that Cambridge Analytica had around $15 million in U.S. political work during the run-up to the 2016 election. Since then, the company hasn’t brought on any other U.S. federal political clients. It has also lost commercial clients in recent months, the paper reported.
While Cambridge Analytica is shutting down operations, Facebook has come out of the data scandal pretty much unscathed. Yes, its stock tanked when the data scandal was revealed in the middle of March, and Facebook’s Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg had to appear before Congress, but the company hasn’t lost many subscribers, and increased regulation has yet to come down the pike.
There was one fallout, however: A co-founder of WhatsApp, a messaging service owned by Facebook, announced he was leaving the company. Jan Koum, who co-founded WhatsApp with Brian Acton, left following disagreements over the messaging service’s strategy as well as Facebook’s attempts to use its personal data and weaken its encryption.
“It’s been almost a decade since Brian and I started WhatsApp, and it’s been an amazing journey with some of the best people,” Koum said in a post on his Facebook page, according to Reuters. “But it is time for me to move on.”