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The board of data firm Cambridge Analytica has suspended its chief executive Alexander Nix with immediate effect, pending a full, independent investigation.

The UK company has been embroiled in controversy with Facebook over allegedly using the personal data of 50 million users to influence the 2016 US presidential election.

"In the view of the board, Mr. Nix’s recent comments secretly recorded by Channel 4 and other allegations do not represent the values or operations of the firm and his suspension reflects the seriousness with which we view this violation," the company said in a statement.

Last night, in an undercover report by Channel 4 News, senior figures at Cambridge Analytica were shown boasting about influencing election campaigns around the world.

Alexander Tayler will serve as acting chief exec while the probe is launched, and the board said it will share the findings of the investigation "in due course".

"The board will be monitoring the situation closely, working closely with Dr. Tayler, to ensure that Cambridge Analytica, in all of its operations, represents the firm’s values and delivers the highest-quality service to its clients."

Cambridge Analytica has "strongly" denied claims that it mined Facebook data.

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