Cambridge Analytica, firm at the center of Facebook's privacy debacle, declaring bankruptcy and shutting down

Cambridge Analytica, the Trump-affiliated data firm at the center of Facebook's worst privacy scandal in history, is declaring bankruptcy and shutting down. (AFP)
Updated 02 May 2018

Cambridge Analytica, firm at the center of Facebook's privacy debacle, declaring bankruptcy and shutting down

  • Cambridge Analytica said it has filed papers to begin insolvency proceedings in the UK and will seek bankruptcy
  • The London firm blamed "unfairly negative media coverage" and said it has been "vilified"

LONDON: Cambridge Analytica, the Trump-affiliated data firm at the center of Facebook's worst privacy scandal in history, is declaring bankruptcy and shutting down.
The London firm blamed "unfairly negative media coverage" and said it has been "vilified" for actions it says are both legal and widely accepted as part of online advertising.
Cambridge Analytica said it has filed papers to begin insolvency proceedings in the UK and will seek bankruptcy protection in a federal court in New York.
"The siege of media coverage has driven away virtually all of the company's customers and suppliers," Cambridge Analytica said in a statement. "As a result, it has been determined that it is no longer viable to continue operating the business."
Cambridge Analytica has been linked to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. The British firm suspended CEO Alexander Tayler in April amid investigations.
Cambridge Analytica sought information on Facebook to build psychological profiles on a large portion of the U.S. electorate. The company was able to amass the database quickly with the help of an app that appeared to be a personality test. The app collected data on tens of millions of people and their Facebook friends, even those who did not download the app themselves.
Facebook has since tightened its privacy restrictions. Cambridge has denied wrongdoing, and Trump's campaign has said it didn't use Cambridge's data.
The firm has said it is committed to helping the U.K. investigation into Facebook and how it uses data. But U.K. Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said in March the firm failed to meet a deadline to produce the information requested.
Denham said the prime allegation against Cambridge Analytica is that it acquired personal data in an unauthorized way, adding that the data provisions act requires services like Facebook to have strong safeguards against misuse of data.


Arab films set for Red Sea Film Festival screening

Updated 24 February 2020

Arab films set for Red Sea Film Festival screening

  • MBC Group to support young film makers with training from industry professionals

LONDON: Young Arab film makers will have the opportunity to have their work showcased at next month’s Red Sea International Film Festival as investment in Saudi cinema gathers pace.

The Red Sea International Film Festival has announced a partnership with MBC Group, which will also broadcast the event’s opening ceremony on March 12.

As part of the deal, MBC Al Amal, MBC’s corporate social responsibility arm, will hold a Shorts pitch competition.

Ten short film projects will be selected from Saudi Arabia and the MENA region, with filmmakers being given a one-day workshop to prepare for a pitching session. 

Italian director and producer Stefano Tealdi will train the candidates to strengthen their skills and give them tips for better pitches, MBC said.

“We strongly believe that this new generation of talent is key in influencing change and creating the difference to the region’s media and entertainment content landscape, which of course includes independent film and mainstream cinema,” said Peter Smith, managing director of MBC Studios.

The region’s biggest broadcaster will also host talent days on March 17 and 18 to support Saudi scriptwriters, directors and producers.

The inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival takes place March 12-21 in Jeddah Old Town, under the theme “Changing the Script.” It aims to support and help grow Saudi Arabia’s emerging film industry which is attracting a slew of investment from homegrown dramas shot in the Kingdom to the construction of cinemas countrywide.

Real estate broker CBRE estimates that 45 new cinemas are expected to open this year.

The boom in cinema construction coincides with a push to develop the domestic Saudi film industry.

That is being driven by both the big and small screen as video-on-demand players that include MBC, Netflix and Amazon compete to deliver content that speaks to a young Arab audience.