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Issued: 2018-03-19

Facebook shares fell nearly 5 percent in early trading Monday after reports that Cambridge Analytica mined the data of over 50 million users of the social network without their permission.

Cambridge Analytica worked on Facebook ads for President Donald Trump during the 2016 election. It was initially funded by conservative billionaire Robert Mercer and led by former Trump advisor Steve Bannon.

Whistleblower Christopher Wylie revealed the alleged role played by Cambridge Analytica in obtaining data from Facebook users to The Observer newspaper in the U.K. and The New York Times.

Both newspapers ran stories Sunday outlining how Cambridge academic Aleksander Kogan made an app called "thisisyourdigitallife" that prompted users to answer questions for a psychological profile. This data was then shared with Cambridge Analytica, allegedly without Facebook's consent. The app was blocked by the social network in 2015.

Facebook said that all the parties that had received the data said it had been destroyed, although the company said it had received reports that not all the data was actually deleted.

"We are moving aggressively to determine the accuracy of these claims. If true, this is another unacceptable violation of trust and the commitments they made," Paul Grewal, deputy general counsel at Facebook, said in a blog post Saturday.

Facebook said it hassuspended Cambridge Analytica from its platform.

According to the social network, Kogan "lied" to Facebook by passing the data along to Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL) and Cambridge Analytica — an SCL affiliate — without informing users.

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