Facebook suspends data firm with Trump ties

Facebook has announced...

Posted: Mar 18, 2018 4:11 PM
Updated: Mar 18, 2018 4:11 PM

Facebook has announced it is suspending Cambridge Analytica, a data firm with ties to President Donald Trump's campaign, over concerns about violations of the social media site's policies.

On Friday, Facebook's vice president and deputy general counsel, Paul Grewal, said in a detailed statement that a University of Cambridge psychology professor, Aleksandr Kogan, had passed Facebook user data he gained through an app on to third-parties, including Cambridge Analytica -- a breach of the social media site's policies on protecting people's information.

Grewal said in the statement that after the discovery of this violation in 2015, Facebook "demanded certifications from Kogan and all parties he had given data to that the information had been destroyed."

Despite telling the company that the data was destroyed, the Facebook statement said it recently received reports that indicated otherwise and was suspending Cambridge Analytica, its parent company Strategic Communication Laboratories, Kogan and another person he shared the information with, Christopher Wylie of Eunoia Technologies Inc.

"We are committed to vigorously enforcing our policies to protect people's information," Grewal's statement reads. "We will take whatever steps are required to see that this happens. We will take legal action if necessary to hold them responsible and accountable for any unlawful behavior."

Facebook's move to suspend Cambridge Analytica came just hours before The New York Times and the British newspaper The Observer both released reports that raised questions about the handling of Facebook data by the company and its associates.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Cambridge Analytica denied that the organization is in violation of Facebook's terms and said it is in communication with Facebook following the news it had been suspended from the platform.

The spokesperson said that in 2014, Cambridge Analytica contracted with Kogan's company Global Science Research (GSR) "to undertake a large scale research project in the United States," obtaining data and seeking "the informed consent of each respondent."

"When it subsequently became clear that the data had not been obtained by GSR in line with Facebook's terms of service, Cambridge Analytica deleted all data received from GSR," the spokesperson added.

"We worked with Facebook over this period to ensure that they were satisfied that we had not knowingly breached any of Facebook's terms of service and also provided a signed statement to confirm that all Facebook data and their derivatives had been deleted.

No data from GSR was used by Cambridge Analytica as part of the services it provided to the Donald Trump 2016 presidential campaign."

Sen. Mark Warner called the suspension "more evidence that the online political advertising market is essentially the Wild West."

Warner, a Virginia Democrat, serves as vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. In his statement, he added: "Whether it's allowing Russians to purchase political ads, or extensive micro-targeting based on ill-gotten user data, it's clear that, left unregulated, this market will continue to be prone to deception and lacking in transparency."

Cambridge University acknowledged they knew of Kogan's company, Global Science Research (GSR), but said they do not believe "he used University data or facilities for his work with GSR, and therefore that there is no reason to believe the University's data and facilities were used as the basis for GSR's subsequent work with any other party."

"It is important to make clear that, despite its name, Cambridge Analytica has no connection or association with the University whatsoever."

Cambridge Analytica was hired in summer 2016 as part of the Trump campaign's three-pronged data operation.

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon served as vice president and secretary of Cambridge Analytica until he stepped down to run the Trump campaign in August 2016.

William A. Burck, an attorney for Bannon, said in a statement on Bannon's behalf: "The first Mr. Bannon heard of these reports was from media inquiries in the past few days. He has nothing to say because he knows nothing about the claims being asserted and would direct questions to Mr. Nix, who ran Cambridge Analytica the entire time Mr. Bannon was associated with it.

CNN previously reported in October 2017 that the firm had contacted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2016 regarding thousands of Hillary Clinton's emails kept on a private server while she was secretary of state, according to four sources familiar with the outreach.

Cambridge Analytica CEO Aleander Nix sent an email that said he had reached out to Assange in attempt to access emails from Clinton's private server in hopes to create a searchable database of the emails for the campaign or a pro-Trump political action committee, according to two sources.

CNN reported that no one from the Trump campaign was copied on the email, the sources said. Nix sent the email in the summer of 2016, two sources said, but it is not clear whether he sent it before or after Cambridge Analytica was brought onto the campaign.

CNN's Kara Scannell, Dana Bash and Marshall Cohen contributed to this report.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 113081

Reported Deaths: 3231
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7823176
DeSoto676778
Harrison490283
Jackson439383
Rankin385986
Madison375793
Lee349079
Forrest298078
Jones285384
Washington253799
Lafayette244042
Lauderdale2398134
Lamar219038
Bolivar199477
Oktibbeha197654
Neshoba1820111
Lowndes175562
Panola167638
Leflore163287
Sunflower158849
Warren153255
Monroe146572
Pontotoc145219
Pike137256
Lincoln136856
Marshall136226
Copiah135736
Coahoma124036
Scott123829
Grenada120638
Yazoo119933
Simpson119549
Union116025
Leake113940
Holmes113760
Tate113639
Itawamba111325
Pearl River110559
Adams105243
Prentiss102919
Wayne99421
Alcorn96712
George95718
Covington94525
Marion93342
Tippah86521
Newton84927
Chickasaw83225
Winston82621
Tallahatchie82525
Tishomingo79741
Hancock78727
Attala78126
Clarke72750
Clay68421
Jasper67417
Walthall63327
Calhoun61812
Noxubee59617
Smith58516
Claiborne53416
Montgomery53123
Tunica52317
Yalobusha51314
Lawrence50414
Perry48423
Carroll46812
Greene45918
Stone45514
Amite42013
Humphreys41916
Quitman4176
Jefferson Davis40011
Webster36613
Wilkinson33120
Kemper32115
Benton3194
Sharkey28014
Jefferson27110
Franklin2373
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1064
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 154942

Reported Deaths: 2660
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22720374
Mobile14405314
Tuscaloosa10066137
Montgomery9820196
Madison907894
Shelby715361
Lee646165
Baldwin644369
Marshall431048
Calhoun416059
Etowah412249
Morgan400033
Houston365532
DeKalb325428
Elmore312852
St. Clair283842
Limestone273630
Walker269993
Talladega259135
Cullman231024
Lauderdale212540
Jackson205515
Autauga202130
Franklin201731
Colbert193330
Russell19053
Blount187325
Dallas186027
Chilton182632
Escambia171428
Coffee16829
Covington166629
Dale163851
Chambers133043
Pike131313
Tallapoosa129587
Clarke127317
Marion105029
Butler99840
Barbour9969
Marengo98222
Winston90613
Geneva8447
Lawrence81131
Pickens81117
Randolph80514
Bibb80114
Hale74830
Cherokee72314
Clay72212
Lowndes70228
Henry6386
Bullock63717
Monroe63610
Washington62312
Crenshaw59830
Perry5816
Wilcox55912
Fayette55713
Conecuh55613
Cleburne5327
Macon53020
Sumter46821
Lamar4595
Choctaw38712
Greene34016
Coosa1993
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Broken Clouds
85° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 88°
Columbus
Scattered Clouds
85° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 89°
Oxford
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 82°
Starkville
Scattered Clouds
84° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 86°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather