Facebook is attempting to prove it is serious about customers’ privacy by suspending yet another analytics firm – whose clients include the BBC, Adidas and Samsung as well as government agencies around the world – while it investigates concerns about the collection and sharing of user data.
The social media giant said it was looking into whether some of the deals it has with Boston based Crimson Hexagon were in violation of its policies on surveillance. The network said it had not found any evidence so far that data had been improperly obtained.
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 US government agencies”.
In March 2017, Facebook prohibited user data being used for government surveillance following pressure from civil liberties groups concerned about the targeting of dissidents and protesters.
“We don’t allow developers to build surveillance tools using information from Facebook or Instagram,” a Facebook spokesman said in a statement on Friday. “We take these allegations seriously, and we have suspended these apps while we investigate.”
Crimson Hexagon works with a data set that includes, according to its own website, more than one trillion social media posts take from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others. It boasts of being able to analyse more than 160m photographs posted online every day.
A spokesman for Facebook told the BBC that the firm had already spoken with Crimson Hexagon, and the organisations are due to meet this week.
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