Cambridge Analytica — the data analytics company that worked for President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign — has been suspended by Facebook after allegedly stealing data from millions of profiles of U.S. voters.
According to The New York Times, the firm “harvested private information from the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users without their permission, according to former Cambridge employees, associates and documents, making it one of the largest data leaks in the social network’s history.”
Facebook issued a blog post on Friday acknowledging Cambridge Analytica’s suspension from the social network, explaining that although Dr. Aleksandr Kogan — the professor at the center of the scandal — gained access to information from people in a “legitimate way,” he did not “subsequently abide” by Facebook’s rules.
Facebook has since updated the post, claiming that a data breach did not occur. Numerous publications report otherwise.
If that’s the case, some are questioning why Facebook made a public announcement in the first place. “Exactly why the handling of this data warranted both suspension and Facebook’s unusual public explanation of the move wasn’t clear,” said the Associated Press.
The news comes after a previous incident between Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. Years ago, Facebook said that the firm received data from users of a Facebook app that appeared as a psychological research tool. About 270,000 people downloaded the app and entered their personal information, though Facebook said Cambridge Analytica wasn’t authorized to have it.
The firm later claimed it destroyed the information, but Facebook recently said not all of the data was deleted.
Facebook’s blog post stated that the company will “take legal action” if necessary.