Eighteen months after the scandal broke, the Federal Trade Commission formally ruled that Cambridge Analytica had deceived consumers through data collection. In July, the FTC accused Alexander Nix, the consulting firm’s chief executive, and Aleksandr Kogan, the app developer, of collecting data on tens of millions of Facebook users through a personality test ingenuity app.
The scandal, first revealed publicly in 2018, caused a stir in the tech world and led to Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance before Congress. The FTC had reached a settlement with Nix and Kogan, and today the FTC voted unanimously to rule that the company’s practices were deceptive.
In a sense, this vote is symbolic. Shortly after the scandal broke, Cambridge Analytica filed for bankruptcy. As the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) noted in today’s announcement, the company has never responded to the agency’s legal complaints or court rulings.
Cambridge Analytica must delete all data it collects on Facebook users and not make false statements about the way it collects it in the future, according to the terms of the order issued today by the Federal Trade Commission.
Since the company had been dissolved, the court’s request seemed meaningless. Still, while the FTC’s order marks the end of the Cambridge Analytica affair, the impact of the scandal remains, and U.S. lawmakers are working to address questions about Facebook’s power and explore ways to more effectively protect users’ privacy.