Economy

Facebook suspends and investigates data analytics firm Crimson Hexagon

Facebook suspends and investigates data analytics firm Crimson Hexagon

Since March, Facebook has been auditing developers and third-party data providers because of the issues raised by Cambridge Analytica, another company with alleged ties to Russian Federation that the social network says misused data on 87 million of its users to influence political campaigns.

Though he did not specifically mention Facebook's investigation, he emphasised that Crimson Hexagon only collects publicly available social media data that anyone can access, and not private social media data.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Crimson Hexagon has "contracts to analyse public Facebook data for clients including a Russian nonprofit with ties to the Kremlin and multiple United States government agencies".

USA government agencies paid Crimson Hexagon more than $800,000 for 22 separate contracts in the past four years, according to the Journal.

Where Crimson Hexagon would fall foul of Facebook's rules is if the data was used to create tools for surveillance, though Facebook has never clarified how its policy works in practice. The social network is under investigation by three federal agencies over its links with Cambridge Analytica, and, since the crisis erupted, Facebook has suspended more than 200 apps that had access to its data.

Facebook has said that, as of right now, the company hasn't found anything untoward in its probe of Crimson Hexagon.

He contrasted that with Cambridge Analytica's use of private user data. "We take these allegations seriously, and we have suspended these apps while we investigate Based on our investigation to date, Crimson Hexagon did not obtain any Facebook or Instagram information inappropriately".

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Users of Crimson Hexagon's platform, which include government customers, analyse the data to understand large-scale consumer trends and preferences, Mr Bingham wrote.

Crimson Hexagon says on its website it has access to over one trillion consumer conversations from social media, forums, blogs and reviews.

"Appearing before the US Congress, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told the lawmakers that his own personal data was part of 87 million users" that was "improperly shared" with the British political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook does not prohibit third parties like Crimson Hexagon from providing data to government agencies for market research purposes, for example when the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) wanted to find out how people perceived the organization. "It is about the broader role and use of public online data in the modern world".

Crimson Hexagon, a Boston-based company, is the largest of this new wave of suspensions.

"Facebook has a responsibility to help protect people's information which is one of the reasons why we have tightened our APIs significantly over the last few years", Ime Archibong, Facebook's VP of product partnerships, said in a statement.