Employees even made a depressing breakup playlist for the occasion.
A man looks through files at the Cambridge Analytica offices. Image: Getty Images
On Wednesday, all employees at Cambridge Analytica—the company behind the recent Facebook data scandal—were told to turn in their keycards immediately. The news was delivered on a conference call with Julian Wheathead, the chairman of Cambridge Analytica’s parent company the SCL Group, who announced that all three of Cambrige Analytica’s offices, two in the US and one in London, are closing down.
Wheatland was selected to takeover as CEO of the company last month after videos surfaced of its former CEO Alexander Nix explaining how Cambridge Analytica was able to manipulate elections with entrapment tactics. Earlier this year, authorities raided Cambridge Analytica’s London office, but British authorities haven’t revealed the results of the raid yet.
“Despite Cambridge Analytica’s unwavering confidence that its employees have acted ethically and lawfully, the siege of media coverage has driven away virtually all of the company’s customers and suppliers,” Cambridge Analytica wrote in a press release. “As a result, it has been determined that it is no longer viable to continue operating the business.”
According to screenshots obtained by Gizmodo, Cambridge Analytica employees met today’s news with despair and one employee shared a Spotify playlist containing Radiohead’s “High and Dry,” The Doors’ “The End,” and “Help!” by the Beatles.
The closure is just the latest turn of events in a years-long saga that began when it was revealed in 2017 that Cambridge Analytica had used Facebook data to help the Trump and Cruz campaigns target voters with their ad campaigns. Earlier this year, a Cambridge Analytica whistleblower revealed how a Facebook personality quiz was used to harvest data on over 50 million Americans. It was later disclosed by Facebook that this number was closer to 87 million Americans. Shortly thereafter, undercover video emerged of Cambridge Analytica’s CEO describing the underhanded tactics the company used to win Trump’s election. Last month, Mark Zuckerberg was called to testify before Congress for two days about how the company had allowed this to happen.
Motherboard has reached out to the company for further comment and will update this post if we hear back.