Data firm Cambridge Analytica closing down following Facebook scandal

Political analysis firm Cambridge Analytica has announced it is closing down following the scandal that involved data being harvested from millions of Facebook accounts.

The company admitted making mistakes over the misuse of data from Facebook accounts but said it had "unwavering confidence that its employees have acted ethically and lawfully."

Despite the company's efforts to "correct the record", it said it had 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 move comes in the wake of rising legal costs in the Facebook investigation, and the loss of clients following revelations about the firm in March.

The firm was linked to Donald Trump's presidential campaign in 2016 and the Leave.EU campaign of the same year.

It used a personality test app called "yourdigitallife" to harvest data from up to 87 million users in order to create user specific adverts.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was questioned in congress over the scandal. Credit: AP

A Cambridge Analytica statement said "the siege of media coverage has driven away virtually all of the Company's customers and suppliers."

It added: "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."

Facebook is currently investigating the breach internally, while the UK's Information Commissioner is conducting an independent investigation.

A spokeswoman for the Information Commissioner's Office said: "We will be examining closely the details of the announcements of the winding down of Cambridge Analytica and the status of its parent company.

She added:: "The ICO will continue its civil and criminal investigations and will seek to pursue individuals and directors as appropriate and necessary even where companies may no longer be operating."

In March eighteen officers working for the Information Commissioner searched the Cambridge Analytica's office in central London.

Officers gain access to Cambridge Analytica's central London premises.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that he made a "huge mistake" in failing to take a broad enough view of what Facebook's responsibility is in the world

"It's clear now that we didn't do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well," Mr Zuckerberg's written statement said of the platform.

The chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix, was suspended by the company in March following an undercover investigation by Channel 4 News.

Alexander Nix was accused of “deliberately misleading” Parliament by denying allegations of harvesting personal data from Facebook users.

In a secret recording by a journalist posing as a fixer for a wealthy Sri Lankan family seeking to get candidates elected, Nix claimed that Cambridge Analytica ran "all" of the elements of the Trump presidential campaign.

"We did all the research, all the data, all the analytics, all the targeting, we ran all the digital campaign, the television campaign and our data informed all the strategy."