Whilst Cambridge Analytica maintains it deleted the data after Facebook requested it do so, the company has been suspended from the social media platform.
Revelations in the Guardian and Observer, suggest Cambridge Analytica may have used the harvested data in their work on the Brexit Referendum and the Trump Presidential campaign. There is also a serious question about whether both companies misled a House of Commons Select Committee inquiry.
This has also lead to the suspension of Cambridge Analytica Alexander Nix. The company was partially founded by Steve Bannon, ex Trump aide who diivested his interest in the company as part of the divesture of assets required to become part of the government. A minimum of 15 million dollars has been invested into the company by Trump backer Robert Mercer, according to The New York Times
Sarah Hall Chart.PR, FCIPR, CIPR President says: “A trustworthy media is critical to democracy. Social media companies like Facebook must be transparent about the risks of unethical data harvesting. Particularly if the data is then used in an attempt, successful or otherwise, to influence the democratic process.
This story asks serious questions about security and whether the ICO should have been informed about a breach when Facebook first knew about the data harvesting. Facebook must now take steps to reassure users and restore trust.
Public Relations professionals will be reminded by this case of their professional obligation to gather, store and process data strictly within the law, and their code of conduct.”