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Cambridge Analytica suspends CEO in data row

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By Emily Commander
Cambridge Analytica suspends CEO in data row

The UK-based firm at the centre of a row over its use of Facebook data has suspended its CEO, Alexander Nix. 

Nix was secretly recorded by Channel 4 News appearing to suggest that Cambridge Analytica used a playbook of dirty tricks to discredit politicians. He claimed the firm had run Donald Trump's digital campaign, helping to win him the election.

Cambridge Analytica has tried to distance itself from the recordings, saying that Nix's comments "do not represent the values or operations of the firm".

The company is under intense scrutiny after allegations that it improperly obtained the personal information of more than 50 million Facebook users.

Some commentators have questioned exactly what Nix's suspension means, as Cambridge Analytica has only a paper existence: Alexander Nix is actually CEO of SCL Elections.

Parliament and Congress investigate

US and European lawmakers want to know how Cambridge got the data and why Facebook didn't tell its users about the breach.

The UK Parliament's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee has formally requested that Facebook's notoriously elusive CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, give evidence to it on the issue. He has until 26 March to respond.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, The US Federal Trade Commission has launched an inquiry into whether Facebook improperly allowed Cambridge Analytica access to the personal data of its users.

"I made mistakes"

Cambridge Analytica whistleblower, Christopher Wylie, has apologised for his role in the project.

Speaking at the Frontline Club in London on Tuesday, he said:

"I made mistakes, I am regretful and I am sorry for that. But the very first thing that I have to do is tell people about it and then the next step for me is to figure out what I can do to make good."

Shares tank

Facebook has lost tens of billions of euros in value as investors fear the scandal might deter advertisers and invite restrictive regulation.