The man who blew the whistle on Cambridge Analytica — a data analysis firm that allegedly tapped the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users without their permission — has been suspended from the social media platform soon after going public with his story.
Former Cambridge Analytica employee Chris Wylie told The Guardian his firm, "exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people's profiles … and built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons".
The information was reportedly used to help target political ads to benefit US President Donald Trump's election campaign.
On Monday, Mr Wylie took to Twitter to share news of his suspension.
"Suspended by @facebook. For blowing the whistle. On something they have known privately for two years," he tweeted.
An attached image showed a screenshot with the words "Account Disabled".
Guardian journalist Carole Cadwalladr said on Twitter Mr Wylie was outraged, and had also been banned from messaging platform WhatsApp and Instagram — both owned by Facebook.
The Guardian said 50 million Facebook profiles were obtained by UK-based academic Dr Aleksandra Kogan using an app which collected the data of people who paid to take a personality test, and the data of their Facebook friends.
The same article said Dr Kogan had a deal to share the data with Cambridge Analytica. Mr Wylie said the firm then used it to a create software that ultimately influenced how people voted.
Facebook said in a statement it was suspending Mr Wylie from its site along with SCL/Cambridge Analytica, and Dr Kogan — the man who created the app that was used to get the data — "pending further information".
"Several days ago, we received reports that, contrary to the certifications we were given, not all data was deleted, Facebook said. We are moving aggressively to determine the accuracy of these claims."
The social media company also said in the statement that in 2015 it became aware its policies had been "violated" and that data had been allegedly passed to Mr Wylie.
"Protecting people's information is at the heart of everything we do, and we require the same from people who operate apps on Facebook."
Facebook's vice-presidents and deputy general counsel Paul Grewal said Cambridge Analytica, Mr Wylie and Dr Kogan had "certified" they destroyed the data.
"If these reports are true, it's a serious abuse of our rules. We will take whatever steps are required to see that the data in question is deleted once and for all — and take action against all offending parties," he said.
In a blog post after the stories broke, Facebook explained Cambridge Analytica was not authorised to have the information obtained by Dr Kogan's app.
Roughly 270,000 people downloaded and shared personal details with the app, which then "crawled" through their social networks to grow that number to 50 million, Mr Wylie said.
Mr Wylie told Britain's Channel 4 news the company was able to amass a huge database very quickly.
"Imagine I go and ask you: I say, 'Hey, if I give you a dollar, two dollars, could you fill up this survey for me, just do it on this app', and you say, 'Fine'," he said.
"I don't just capture what your responses are, I capture all of the information about you from Facebook. But also this app then crawls through your social network and captures all of that data also."
'Online political advertising market is the Wild West'
Politicians in Britain and the US criticised Facebook and its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, after the allegations towards UK-based Cambridge Analytica surfaced.
A British MP accused Facebook of misleading officials by downplaying the risk of users' data being shared without their consent.
Conservative legislator Damian Collins, who heads the British Parliament's media committee, said he would ask Mr Zuckerberg or another Facebook executive to appear before his panel, which is investigating disinformation and "fake news".
Mr Collins said Facebook had "consistently understated" the risk of data leaks and gave misleading answers to the committee.
"Someone has to take responsibility for this," he said.
"It's time for Mark Zuckerberg to stop hiding behind his Facebook page."
In Washington, Democratic senator Amy Klobuchar said on Twitter Mr Zuckerberg "needs to testify before Senate Judiciary".
"This is a major breach that must be investigated," Senator Klobuchar, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said. "It's clear these platforms can't police themselves."
Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, echoed Ms Klobuchar's complaint.
"This is more evidence that the online political advertising market is essentially the Wild West," he said.
"It's clear that, left unregulated, this market will continue to be prone to deception and lacking in transparency."