Menlo Park-based social network Facebook has suspended Canadian political consultancy and data analytics firm AggregateIQ, following reports that link the Canadian firm to data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica.
Canadian investigative journalism outlet National Observer was the first to report the news of AggregateIQ’s suspension.
“In light of recent reports that AggregateIQ may be affiliated with SCL and may, as a result, have improperly received FB user data, we have added them to the list of entities we have suspended from our platform while we investigate,” said Facebook, in an email statement to MobileSyrup. “Our internal review continues, and we will cooperate fully with any investigations by regulatory authorities.”
According to reports from CBC News and other news outlets, AggregateIQ has ties to SCL Group — the company that owns Cambridge Analytica.
“AggregateIQ has never been and is not a part of Cambridge Analytica or SCL” — AggregateIQ
Reports suggest that AggregateIQ has worked on projects for Cambridge Analytica for years.
AggregateIQ was also allegedly responsible for influencing Brexit voters during the U.K.’s 2016 referendum.
However, a statement on AggregateIQ denies the company’s involvement with either Cambridge Analytica or SCL.
“AggregateIQ has never been and is not a part of Cambridge Analytica or SCL,” reads an excerpt from a statement on AggregateIQ’s home page. “Aggregate IQ has never entered into a contract with Cambridge Analytica.”
The Canadian firm also denied having any access to Facebook data obtained “improperly” by Cambridge Analytica.
“In light of recent reports that AggregateIQ may be affiliated with SCL and may, as a result, have improperly received FB user data, we have added them to the list of entities we have suspended from our platform while we investigate” — Facebook
“AggregateIQ has never managed, nor did we ever have access to, any Facebook data or database allegedly obtained improperly by Cambridge Analytica,” reads another excerpt.
News of AggregateIQ’s suspension comes days after the British Columbia and federal privacy commissioners announced that they had launched a joint investigation into AggregateIQ and Facebook.
“The investigations will examine whether the organizations are in compliance with Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and BC’s Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA),” reads an excerpt from an April 5th, 2018 Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) media release.
It’s important to note that the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for BC began its investigation into AggregateIQ in late 2017.
Facebook also suspended CubeYou, a data analytics firm that used personality quizzes to target potential customers, over the weekend.
Apologies from Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has publicly apologized for his company’s involvement in the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal.
Zuckerberg also spoke with media via phone call on April 4th, 2018 to address the privacy scandal, while also confirming that 600,000 Canadians were affected by the breach.
“You never fully solve security, it’s an arms race,” said Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the call.