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Facebook suspends Trump-linked firm Cambridge Analytica

Facebook has suspended Cambridge Analytica, the data firm used by the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, citing policy violations.

Facebook deputy general counsel and Vice President Paul Grewal wrote in a post Friday night that the decision was made after reports that the firm did not fully delete data given to them by a University of Cambridge professor in violation of Facebook policies.

Grewal said Aleksandr Kogan had passed data from his app, which used Facebook login, to Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), which houses Cambridge Analytica.

Those using his app allowed Kogan to access information such as the city they were living in and pages or content they liked.

“Although Kogan gained access to this information in a legitimate way and through the proper channels that governed all developers on Facebook at that time, he did not subsequently abide by our rules. By passing information on to a third party, including SCL/Cambridge Analytica and Christopher Wylie of Eunoia Technologies, he violated our platform policies,” the statement read.

Grewal said that after discovering the violation in 2015, Facebook demanded that Cambridge Analytica certify that they had destroyed the data they received, and that the company had done so.

“Several days ago, we received reports that, contrary to the certifications we were given, not all data was deleted. We are moving aggressively to determine the accuracy of these claims,” the statement read.

“If true, this is another unacceptable violation of trust and the commitments they made. We are suspending SCL/Cambridge Analytica, Wylie and Kogan from Facebook, pending further information.”

Grewal said that Facebook is “committed to vigorously enforcing our policies to protect people’s information.”

“We will take whatever steps are required to see that this happens. We will take legal action if necessary to hold them responsible and accountable for any unlawful behavior,” he continued.

The data firm has come under scrutiny in the probe into Russia's election interference.

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE reportedly requested all emails from employees at the firm who worked with the Trump campaign, and Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix also reportedly interviewed with the House Intelligence Committee.