Thursday 16 August 2018

Facebook suspends Brexit consultants

Facebook has suspended Canadian political consultancy AggregateIQ (AIQ) after reports that the company may have improperly had access to the personal data of users of the social media network. Stock photo: Reuters
Facebook has suspended Canadian political consultancy AggregateIQ (AIQ) after reports that the company may have improperly had access to the personal data of users of the social media network. Stock photo: Reuters

Adam Lusher

Facebook has suspended Canadian political consultancy AggregateIQ (AIQ) after reports that the company may have improperly had access to the personal data of users of the social media network.

AIQ has been mentioned in connection with claims that the Brexit vote was "unfairly influenced" by precisely targeted online advertising.

The Brexit link followed claims by whistleblower, Shahmir Sanni, who worked for Vote Leave. Sanni claimed that to get round EU referendum campaign spending limits, Vote Leave donated £625,000 to a separate group called BeLeave. Sanni this money was then spent on hiring AIQ to devise precisely targeted online advertising aimed at persuading people to vote for Brexit.

Another whistleblower, Chris Wylie told MPs last week that that AIQ had a "significant" conversion rate of between 5pc and 7pc - and had told him it had targeted five to seven million people for the referendum.

AIQ, however, has a statement on its website strenuously denying any links with Cambridge Analytica, SCL, or the alleged data breach.

©Independent

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