Facebook probing analytics firm with Russian ties

Facebook suspends another analytics firm over potential data misuse

Facebook suspends another analytics firm over potential data misuse

A hot potato: In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has become hyper-vigilant toward apps that may misuse data scraped from its users.

Unlike Cambridge Analytica, which dealt in the profiles of Facebook users without obtaining their permission (click on the video at the top of this article), Crimson Hexagon collects publicly posted social media messages and analyzes them for its clients, seeking to get an idea of what the public thinks about certain matters.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal late on Friday, the social media giant was investigating whether the analytics firms' contracts with the USA government, a Russian non-profit organisation tied to the Kremlin and the Turkish government violate the platform " s policies". The company reportedly had contracts with the US government and a Russian nonprofit with connections to the Kremlin.

The company had access to data on Facebook and Instagram through APIs-application programming interfaces-which developers use to create software and apps for platforms. 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 said on Friday that Crimson Hexagon is co-operating and that so far its investigation has not found evidence that the firm obtained Facebook or Instagram information inappropriately.

However, Facebook is looking into whether the company has violated any of its policies regarding the collection, sharing, and storage of user data.

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A spokeswoman for King referred questions to Crimson Hexagon and provided a statement in which King, who is also the chairman of the company's board, said he "never had line authority or day-to-day involvement" in its operations.

"We don't allow developers to build surveillance tools using information from Facebook or Instagram", a Facebook spokesman said in a statement on Friday.

Mr Bingham says his firm routinely vets potential government customers to ensure they comply with policies of its "data partners" like Facebook.

"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.

Per Facebook's policies, users can opt to share their information with developers on Facebook and Instagram. The brands it has worked with include Adidas, Samsung, GM, Walmart and General Mills, according to its website. He added that the company allows firms like Crimson Hexagon to produce "anonymized insights for business purposes". "Facebook has a responsibility to help protect people's information".

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

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