Data consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, which worked with Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, announced Tuesday that it has suspended its chief executive officer, Alexander Nix, pending an internal investigation. The news comes as Cambridge and its British counterpart, SCL, face a barrage of questions over how their companies managed 50 million Facebook users' data, and also whether Nix and other executives use dirty tricks like extortion and fake news on behalf of their clients, as they appear to discuss freely in a recent undercover video filmed by British news network Channel 4 News.
Cambridge Analytica's board of directors announced the suspension on the company website, writing, "In the view of the Board, Mr. Nix’s recent comments secretly recorded by Channel 4 and other allegations do not represent the values or operations of the firm and his suspension reflects the seriousness with which we view this violation."
According to the statement, Cambridge has appointed British barrister Julian Malins to conduct an independent investigation. In the meantime, the company has appointed its chief of data, Alexander Tayler, to act as CEO as it investigates the allegations against the company. Tayler was also present at some of the meetings recorded by Channel 4.
Over the weekend The Guardian and The Observer, alongside The New York Times, published simultaneous reports alleging Cambridge and SCL had harvested 50 million Facebook users' data and held onto it despite promises to Facebook that it would delete the data in 2015. Multiple sources also told WIRED this data was visible to Cambridge employees as recently as early 2017.