Facebook suspends social media analytics company Crimson Hexagon

Cornelia Mascio
Luglio 22, 2018

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

Crimson Hexagon has reportedly collected more than 1 trillion public social media posts from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and other online sources.

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 U.S. government agencies".

The Wall Street Journal first reported that Facebook had suspended Crimson Hexagon and says among the firm's clients is a Russian non-profit with ties to the Kremlin.

Facebook had requested further evidence from Crimson Hexagon but the papers quotes a spokesman for the social network as saying that "based on our investigation to date, Crimson Hexagon did not obtain any Facebook or Instagram information inappropriately".

Facebook responded to a firestorm of criticism earlier this year when it was revealed that another firm, Cambridge Analytica, had obtained the personal information of tens of millions of users without their knowledge or consent.

After the publication began inquiring about Facebook's oversight of Crimson Hexagon's government contracts, the social media site suspended the firm's apps on Facebook and its Instagram unit so it could take a closer look. Facebook said the analytics company is cooperating with the probe.

"We don't allow developers to build surveillance tools using information from Facebook or Instagram", said Facebook in a statement, the Guardian reports.

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 it has the largest repository of public social media posts, . Facebook claims it changed its policies in 2014 to prevent apps from accessing info on users' friends in the way that led to the harvesting of data that wound up on Cambridge Analytica's servers. Facebook allows outside firms to use "anonymized insights for business purposes", but not for surveillance. "No one using Crimson Hexagon would be able to learn anything about an individual that isn't already contained in publicly-available data".

According to Crimson Hexagon's website, customers include Paramount Pictures, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Adidas, General Mills, General Motors and Twitter.

"We are investigating the claims about Crimson Hexagon to see if they violated any of our policies", said Ime Archibong, Facebook's VP of product partnerships, in an email statement.

According to public information about US government contracts, Crimson Hexagon has received contacts for more than $800,000 for various government agencies, including the state department, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the army, and the US Secret Service.

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