Facebook bans Trump-affiliated data firm Cambridge Analytica - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Facebook bans Trump-affiliated data firm Cambridge Analytica

Posted: Updated:

Facebook suspended Cambridge Analytica, a data-analysis firm that worked for President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, over allegations that it held onto improperly obtained user data after telling Facebook it had deleted the information.

The social network issued a blog post explaining its decision, although the tale is convoluted. Years ago, Facebook said, Cambridge Analytica received user data from a Facebook app that purported to be a psychological research tool, though the firm wasn’t authorized to have that information. Roughly 270,000 people downloaded the app and shared their personal details with it, Facebook said.

Cambridge Analytica later certified in 2015 that it had destroyed the information that it received, according to Facebook, although the social network said it received reports “several days ago” that not all the data was deleted.

While it investigates the matter, Facebook has also suspended the access of Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, Strategic Communication Laboratories; the academic who created the app in question, a University of Cambridge psychology professor named Aleksandr Kogan; and another individual, Christopher Wylie of Eunoia Technologies, who also allegedly received the user data from the app.

Exactly why the handling of this data warranted both suspension and Facebook’s unusual public explanation of the move wasn’t clear. The blog post, written by Facebook deputy general counsel Paul Grewal, cited the “public prominence” of Cambridge Analytica, called the alleged data retention an “unacceptable violation of trust” and said the social network will take legal action if necessary to hold all parties “responsible and accountable for any unlawful behavior.”

In a statement, a Cambridge Analytica spokesman denied any wrongdoing. He said the parent company’s SCL Elections unit hired Kogan to undertake “a large scale research project in the U.S.,” but later learned that he had obtained data in violation of Facebook policies, and subsequently deleted all data it received from Kogan’s company. For the “avoidance of doubt,” the spokesman said, none of Kogan’s data was used in Cambridge Analytica’s 2016 election work.

Kogan did not immediately reply to an emailed request for comment. Wylie could not immediately be located.

Cambridge Analytica is probably best known for its political work in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. The company claims to build psychological profiles based on personal details from millions of Americans that can categorize individual voters. It worked for both the primary campaign of Texas senator Ted Cruzand the Trump general-election campaign .

The firm is backed by the family of billionaire donor Robert Mercer, a hedge fund manager who also supported the Trump campaign and other conservative candidates and causes. Trump campaign officials have downplayed Cambridge Analytica’s role, saying they briefly used the company for television advertising and paid some of its most skilled data employees.

But the company has also surfaced a few times during the probes into Russian interference in the 2016 election. For instance, Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who is now cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation after pleading guilty to a felony charge , disclosed an advisory role with Cambridge Analytica last August. SCL later said that position never materialized.

Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix also disclosed last November that the company reached out to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during the campaign to request emails related to the Hillary Clinton campaign. Nix said Assange said no. Clinton campaign emails stolen by Russian agents are one focus of the election-interference probes. Nix has denied any involvement in Russian election meddling.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Suspect identified in fatal downtown Spokane shooting

    Suspect identified in fatal downtown Spokane shooting

    Thursday, October 18 2018 2:26 AM EDT2018-10-18 06:26:17 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Update: Spokane Police Department SWAT Team officers took a homicide suspect into custody following an afternoon shooting in downtown Spokane. That suspect was identified as 27-year-old Joel C. Taitch. He was found blocks away from the crime scene and booked for 2nd degree murder. 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Update: Spokane Police Department SWAT Team officers took a homicide suspect into custody following an afternoon shooting in downtown Spokane. That suspect was identified as 27-year-old Joel C. Taitch. He was found blocks away from the crime scene and booked for 2nd degree murder. 

    >>
  • Spokane dealing with blue ash aphid invasion

    Spokane dealing with blue ash aphid invasion

    Wednesday, October 17 2018 9:43 PM EDT2018-10-18 01:43:56 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Feel like you have to keep swatting bugs away when you've been walking outside this week? What you might be calling gnats, are really blue ash aphids. And right now they are more active than ever, because it's mating season. KHQ met a couple who noticed the blue ash aphids right when they started their walk in the park. 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Feel like you have to keep swatting bugs away when you've been walking outside this week? What you might be calling gnats, are really blue ash aphids. And right now they are more active than ever, because it's mating season. KHQ met a couple who noticed the blue ash aphids right when they started their walk in the park. 

    >>
  • Reward offered for information in attack on trucker

    Reward offered for information in attack on trucker

    Wednesday, October 17 2018 11:16 PM EDT2018-10-18 03:16:43 GMT
    Courtesy Amos PhilipsCourtesy Amos Philips

    FORT HALL, Idaho (AP) - A trucker from Missouri who was beaten at an Idaho truck stop last month is still recovering from his injuries, and his employer has offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of his attacker.

    >>

    FORT HALL, Idaho (AP) - A trucker from Missouri who was beaten at an Idaho truck stop last month is still recovering from his injuries, and his employer has offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of his attacker.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Suspect identified in fatal downtown Spokane shooting

    Suspect identified in fatal downtown Spokane shooting

    Thursday, October 18 2018 2:26 AM EDT2018-10-18 06:26:17 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Update: Spokane Police Department SWAT Team officers took a homicide suspect into custody following an afternoon shooting in downtown Spokane. That suspect was identified as 27-year-old Joel C. Taitch. He was found blocks away from the crime scene and booked for 2nd degree murder. 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Update: Spokane Police Department SWAT Team officers took a homicide suspect into custody following an afternoon shooting in downtown Spokane. That suspect was identified as 27-year-old Joel C. Taitch. He was found blocks away from the crime scene and booked for 2nd degree murder. 

    >>
  • Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, October 17th

    Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, October 17th

    Thursday, October 18 2018 2:23 AM EDT2018-10-18 06:23:59 GMT

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, October 17th.

    >>

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, October 17th.

    >>
  • After Canada legalizes, pot industry eyes rest of the world

    After Canada legalizes, pot industry eyes rest of the world

    Thursday, October 18 2018 2:02 AM EDT2018-10-18 06:02:16 GMT

    MONTREAL (AP) - Canada's decision to legalize marijuana could influence other countries as they mull whether to end their own bans on the drug.    Drug law reform advocates say the nation's status as a major economy and a good international partner lends additional weight to its decision. Legal sales began Wednesday as more than 110 legal pot shops opened across Canada.

    >>

    MONTREAL (AP) - Canada's decision to legalize marijuana could influence other countries as they mull whether to end their own bans on the drug.    Drug law reform advocates say the nation's status as a major economy and a good international partner lends additional weight to its decision. Legal sales began Wednesday as more than 110 legal pot shops opened across Canada.

    >>