Facebook suspends analytics firm while it probes data use

AP, NEW YORK

Sun, Jul 22, 2018 - Page 16

Facebook Inc on Friday said that it has suspended Boston-based analytics firm Crimson Hexagon while it investigates how it collects and shares Facebook and Instagram’s user data.

Facebook has been facing increased scrutiny over how third-party firms use its data since news broke in March that data firm Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed user data.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that Facebook had suspended Crimson Hexagon.

Among the firm’s clients is a Russian nonprofit with ties to the Kremlin, the newspaper said.

“We don’t allow developers to build surveillance tools using information from Facebook or Instagram,” Facebook vice president of product partnerships Ime Archibong said. “We take these allegations seriously, and we have suspended these apps while we investigate.”

Facebook said that Crimson Hexagon is cooperating and its investigation had not found evidence that the firm obtained Facebook or Instagram information inappropriately.

Crimson Hexagon says on its Web site that it has access to more than 1 trillion consumer conversations from social media, forums, blogs and reviews.

In a blog posting, Crimson Hexagon chief technology officer Chris Bingham said that the company “abides completely” by the rules that social media sites, including Twitter and Facebook, put in place to limit the ways third-party companies can use their data.

The firm only collects publicly available social media data, Bingham said, adding that Cambridge Analytica used private user data.

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