After months in the spotlight for its role in Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica and its parent company SLC Group announced today that it was shutting down.
“The Company is immediately ceasing all operations,” the company said in a statement posted earlier today on its website.
The closure was first reported by Gizmodo, which had obtained documents including a directive to American employees that they return their keycards immediately. The news was later confirmed by SLC Group founder Nigel Oakes in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.
Included in Gizmodo‘s initial report was the gallows humour within the company this morning. As revealed by screenshots of the company’s internal chat service, one employee had shared a Spotify playlist that included “High and Dry” by Radiohead, “The End” by The Doors, and “Help!” by The Beatles, while another employee shared a still from the film Titanic in which the band continues to play as the ship sinks.
The move is not entirely without warning, as the embattled company has been fighting off accusations that it had misused Facebook user data and invaded user privacy in its work to support the president’s campaign.
Acknowledging the controversies that have plagued Cambridge Analytica, the statement stresses that the company stands by its actions and denies wrongdoing. “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.”
Cambridge Analytica maintains unwavering confidence that its employees have acted ethically and lawfully.
After suspending its chief executive, Alexander Nix, in March, Cambridge Analytica launched an independent investigation to determine if it had engaged in any wrongdoing. According to Cambridge Analytica, the report produced by that investigation fully supports the company’s “unwavering confidence that its employees have acted ethically and lawfully.”
The company’s statement includes the announcement that Cambridge Analytica LLC and some of its US-based affiliates will be filing for bankruptcy “soon.”
We will keep you updated as this story develops.