Cambridge Analytica LLC, the American branch of the embattled British-based data broker and political consultancy firm hired by President Trump’s 2016 election campaign, has filed for bankruptcy in the United States after coming under fire for collecting the personal information of millions of Facebook users without their knowledge.
Along with a related company, SCL USA, Cambridge Analytica filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in federal court late Thursday, two months after news reports first revealed that the firm had quietly obtained the personal data of about 87 million Facebook users through a purported online personality quiz.
Cambridge Analytica’s filing listed assets totally between $100,001 and $500,000, and debts ranging between $1 million and $10 million to dozens of different creditors, including Comcast, Verizon Wireless, the Federal Election Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission and Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Sen. John Thune, South Dakota Republican, among others.
“As one of multiple government investigators listed in the bankruptcy filing as a creditor (including the US Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Election Commission), the Senate Commerce Committee has an outstanding request for information from Cambridge Analytica,” a spokesman for Mr. Thune said in a statement.
Cambridge Analytica has faced heightened scrutiny from regulators in the U.S. and abroad after it was reported in March that the company had quietly amassed the personal information of millions of Facebook users through “ThisIsYourDigitalLife,” an online quiz developed by data scientist Aleksandr Kogan, and subsequently exploited that information during the course while conducting business for political clients.
The Federal Trade Commission previously announced it was investigating Facebook’s privacy policies as a result of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and the U.K.’s data watchdog raided the firm’s London office in March as part of a probe concerning “the use of personal data and analytics by political campaigns, parties, social media companies and other commercial actors.”
Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign paid Cambridge Analytica at least $5.9 million between July and December 2016, and the president’s former chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, previously served as the firm’s vice president.
Cambridge Analyrica’s filing was signed on behalf of the firm’s board by Rebekah and Jennifer Mercer, the daughters of Robert Mercer, a hedge fund manager and major contributor to Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
The firm initiated bankruptcy proceedings in the U.K. earlier this month, citing a loss of business blamed on recently media coverage.