Timeline - Cambridge Analytica lists events leading to Facebook data row

(Reuters) - Cambridge Analytica, which is at the centre of a controversy over harvested personal data about Facebook users, on Thursday released a timeline highlighting its relationship with Global Science Research (GSR) and whistleblower Christopher Wylie.

A photographer takes a photograph of the nameplate of political consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, in central London, Britain March 21, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Aleksandr Kogan, who runs GSR, designed a personality quiz that was taken by a few hundred thousand people but the app on which it ran also collected details about all of their Facebook ‘friends’ without their knowledge or consent.

That data was then used in a targeted digital ad campaign in support of Donald Trump’s successful run for the U.S. presidency, Cambridge Analytica’s CEO Alexander Nix told an undercover reporter from Britain’s Channel Four news.

Cambridge Analytica's timeline also revealed contractual and legal agreements made in the name of its associated entity, SCL Elections.

August, 2013

Christopher Wylie begins part-time at SCL Elections.

May, 2014

Starts a research project with GSR.

July, 2014

Wylie stops working with company.

Late 2014

Legal action against Wylie for breach of contract and potential intellectual property theft.

August, 2015

Wylie signs legal document to say he holds no company material.

December, 2015

- The Guardian reports GSR data was in breach of Facebook’s terms of service, and potentially the Data Protection Act.

- Facebook contacts companies to understand the data and asks to delete it.

July, 2016

GSR seeks to verify company has deleted all of their data.

August, 2016

Takes legal action against GSR for licensing illegally acquired data.

November, 2016

Reaches a settlement with GSR.

March, 2017

- Completes an internal audit to confirm all GSR data (including all derivatives and backups) have been deleted. Certifies to Facebook that company holds no data from GSR.

- Britain’s Information Commission (ICO) officials visit company’s London office.

September, 2017

ICO writes to Cambridge Analytica about processing data on U.S. nationals in the UK.

October, 2017

ICO writes to Cambridge Analytica about alleged work on the Brexit campaign.


- ICO requests access to company’s systems, says a whistleblower informed company still holds GSR data. Reiterates company deleted all GSR data and certified it to Facebook; offers to share all information on interactions with GSR.

- Facebook suspends Cambridge Analytica and SCL’s accounts, pending further investigation.

Reporting by Rama Venkat Raman in Bengaluru