NEWS23 April 2019

ARF rescinds award given to Cambridge Analytica

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US – The Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) has rescinded an award it gave to Cambridge Analytica for big data in 2017, saying the company was ‘not fully transparent’ in its application.

Cracked phone screen showing Facebook logo alonsgide laptop and glasses

The data analytics consultancy received a Gold award in the big data category of the ARF’s David Ogilvy Awards in March 2017. The award was given for its ‘Make America Number One’ campaign targeting US voters ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

Last year, the ARF said it was reviewing the award following the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

At the ARF’s AudiencexScience event in Jersey City last week, president Scott McDonald said the organisation’s board had decided to rescind the award.

In his opening remarks, McDonald said: "This was not taken lightly and was the product of deep and careful consideration of the evidence revealed in multiple official investigations in the US and the UK."

He added: "In the judgment of the ARF Board, the preponderance of evidence indicates that Cambridge Analytica was not fully transparent in its Ogilvy application and that it behaved in ways that are inconsistent with – even antithetical to – the ethics enshrined in the new Code, as such, the Board exercised its right to withdraw the award."

The ARF outlined its first member code of conduct on ethical research and data collection earlier this month.