U.K. authorities raided Cambridge Analytica’s offices overnight amid an investigation into whether the political consulting firm illegally acquired Facebook data to target voters.
Around 18 investigators were seen entering the company’s London headquarters after obtaining a warrant to search its database and servers Friday night, the Guardian reported. The search lasted seven hours, according to the BBC.
“This is just one part of a larger investigation into the use of personal data and analytics for political purposes,” the Information Commissioner’s Office said late Friday after receiving the warrant. “As you will expect, we will now need to collect, assess and consider the evidence before coming to any conclusions.”
The search is the latest development in a ballooning scandal enveloping both the firm and Facebook. Officials on both sides of the Atlantic are scrutinizing the companies amid accusations that Cambridge Analytica may have used 50 million Facebook users’ data without proper consent to help U.S. President Donald Trump’s election.
Both Cambridge Analytica and Facebook deny they did anything illegal.
On Friday, Cambridge Analytica’s acting CEO Alexander Tayler defended the firm, saying, “We in no way resemble the politically motivated and unethical company that some have sought to portray.”
Tayler insisted Cambridge Analytica “immediately” deleted raw user data after Facebook first raised concerns that it had been obtained outside of Facebook’s terms of service.