Facebook announced late Friday that it is suspending AggregateIQ, a Canadian data firm, for its alleged ties to SCL, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica.
“In light of recent reports that AggregateIQ may be affiliated with SCL and may, as a result, have improperly received FB user data, we have added them to the list of entities we have suspended from our platform while we investigate,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement provided to CNN. “Our internal review continues, and we will cooperate fully with any investigations by regulatory authorities.”
The Canadian firm worked for campaigns advocating for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union in the run-up to the 2016 referendum there.
In a statement on its website, AggregateIQ distanced itself from Cambridge Analytica and SCL but did not deny it has done work with SCL.
“AggregateIQ has never been and is not a part of Cambridge Analytica or SCL,” the statement said. “AggregateIQ works in full compliance within all legal and regulatory requirements in all jurisdictions where it operates. It has never knowingly been involved in any illegal activity. All work AggregateIQ does for each client is kept separate from every other client.”
“AggregateIQ has never managed, nor did we ever have access to, any Facebook data or database allegedly obtained improperly by Cambridge Analytica,” it read.
Cambridge Analytica said in a statement last week that it had “subcontracted some digital marketing and software development to Aggregate IQ in 2014 and 2015,” and added, “The suggestion that Cambridge Analytica was somehow involved in any work done by Aggregate IQ in the 2016 EU referendum is entirely false.”
The news comes after Facebook suspended Cambridge Analytica, a data firm with ties to President Donald Trump’s campaign, and its parent company last month over concerns about violations of the social media site’s policies. Cambridge Analytica denies it ever shared the data in question with AggregateIQ.
Facebook said Wednesday that Cambridge Analytica may have had information on about 87 million Facebook users without the users’ knowledge.
Facebook has said the data was initially collected by a professor for academic purposes in line with its rules. The information was later transferred to third parties, including Cambridge Analytica, in violation of Facebook’s policies.
Cambridge Analytica disputed the number.
“Cambridge Analytica licensed data for no more than 30 million people from GSR, as is clearly stated in our contract with the research company,” the company said in a statement. “We did not receive more data than this.”