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Facebook suspends data firm AggregateIQ used by Vote Leave Brexit campaign

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Facebook has suspended AggregateIQ, a Canadian data firm that played a key part in the UK’s Brexit campaign.

The tech giant has cited reported links with Cambridge Analytica, the data mining firm accused of improperly accessing the data of at least 57 million Facebook users.

Facebook has said it will suspend AggregateIQ from its platform due to suspicions it may have also accessed user data.

AggregateIQ, however, has denied links with Cambridge Analytica or its parent company, SCL. It’s also denied obtaining access to Facebook data.

It’s emerged that the UK Vote Leave campaign paid AggregateIQ £2.7m ($3.8m) ahead of the EU referendum in 2016.

According to reports, a former volunteer with the campaign has also said that Vote Leave donated £625,000 to a separate group in a bid to work around campaign spending limits, with most of the cash going to AggregateIQ. Vote Leave, however, has vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

A Facebook spokesperson said: “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.

“Our internal review continues, and we will cooperate fully with any investigations by regulatory authorities.”

In the meantime, AggregateIQ has published the following message on its website: “AggregateIQ is a digital advertising, web and software development company based in Canada. It is and has always been 100% Canadian owned and operated. AggregateIQ has never been and is not a part of Cambridge Analytica or SCL. Aggregate IQ has never entered into a contract with Cambridge Analytica. Chris Wylie has never been employed by AggregateIQ.

“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.”

The news comes after the UK data watchdog said it was investigating 30 companies, including Facebook, following the Cambridge Analytica fiasco.