Facebook suspends AIQ data firm used by Vote Leave in Brexit campaign

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Aggregate IQ

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The British Columbia-based business rejects ever belonging to Cambridge Analytica or its moms and dad business SCL.

Facebook has actually suspended a Canadian information company that played an essential function in the project for the UK to leave the EU.

The social networks giant stated AggregateIQ (AIQ) might have poorly gotten users’ information.

It mentions reported relate to the moms and dad business of Cambridge Analytica (CA), the consultancy implicated of poorly accessing the information of millions.

AIQ rejects ever belonging to CA, its moms and dad business SCL or accessing poorly gotten Facebook information.

The Vote Leave project paid AIQ ₤ 2.7 m ($ 3.8 m) ahead of the 2016 EU referendum.

An ex-volunteer with the project has actually likewise declared Vote Leave contributed ₤625,000 to another group to obtain around project costs limitations, with the majority of the cash going to AIQ. Vote Leave has actually rejected any misdeed.

AIQ’s site as soon as priced quote Vote Leave primary Dominic Cummings stating: “Without a doubt, the Vote Leave project owes a lot of its success to the work of AggregateIQ. We could not have actually done it without them.” The quote has actually given that been eliminated.

In overall, AIQ was offered ₤ 3.5 m by groups campaigning for Brexit, consisting of Vote Leave, the Democratic Unionist Celebration and Veterans for Britain. The UK’s Electoral Commission reopened an investigation into Vote Leave’s project costs in November.

” Because of current reports that AggregateIQ might be associated with SCL and may, as an outcome, have actually poorly gotten FB user information, we have actually included them to the list of entities we have actually suspended from our platform while we examine,” a Facebook representative stated.

” Our internal evaluation continues, and we will co-operate totally with any examinations by regulative authorities.”

In a message published to its site, AIQ states it is “100% Canadian owned and run” and “has actually never ever been and is not a part of Cambridge Analytica or SCL”.

It includes: “Aggregate IQ has actually never ever handled, nor did we ever have access to, any Facebook information or database apparently gotten poorly by Cambridge Analytica.”

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Media caption How the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica information scandal unfolded

It likewise rejected ever using Chris Wylie, the Canadian whistleblower who declared that the information of 50 m individuals was poorly shown Cambridge Analytica. Facebook has since said the number of people affected could be closer to 87m. CA states it got the information of no greater than 30 m individuals and has actually erased all of it.

Spotlight on Brexit project

Analysis by technology reporter Rory Cellan-Jones

It was 3 weeks ago that Facebook suspended Cambridge Analytica simply hours prior to a whistleblower’s discoveries to the Observer paper activated the existing scandal over inappropriate usage of information.

Christopher Wylie firmly insisted that Aggregate IQ was carefully connected to Cambridge Analytica, and provided files to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport choose committee which he stated showed it.

Now Facebook’s choice to suspend the Canadian company from its platform appears to provide more recognition to Mr Wylie’s claims. It likewise tosses the spotlight back onto the prospective usage of Facebook information throughout the Brexit project.

Facebook states it is checking out whether the information that Cambridge Analytica gotten poorly from as numerous as 87 million individuals – 1 countless them in the UK – wound up with Aggregate IQ. The company worked for both Vote Leave and BeLeave throughout the EU referendum project, however has actually constantly insisted it has actually never ever belonged of Cambridge Analytica, and has actually not had access to any of its Facebook information.

AIQ is a little business running from Victoria, British Columbia. It utilizes information to assist micro-target citizens and wased established by 2 Canadian political staffers.

Apart from its Brexit work the business has actually likewise been implicated by Mr Wylie of dispersing “extremely anti-Islamic” material on social networks ahead of the 2015 Nigerian governmental election to challenge Muslim opposition prospect Muhammadu Buhari, who went on to win the contest.

The BBC has actually approached AIQ for a reaction to the Nigeria accusations.

Mr Wylie has actually stated that AIQ was described amongst Cambridge Analytica personnel as “our Canadian workplace”. He informed the Guardian he assisted to establish the company as a “Canadian entity for individuals who wished to deal with SCL tasks who didn’t wish to transfer to London” which he had actually understood the company’s co-founder, Jeff Silvester, given that he was16

AIQ states it “has actually never ever participated in an agreement with Cambridge Analytica” which “Chris Wylie has actually never ever been utilized by AggregateIQ”.

Cambridge Analytica is at the centre of a row over whether it utilized the individual information of countless Facebook users to sway the result of the United States 2016 governmental election and the UK Brexit referendum.

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