Facebook has suspended Boston-based data analytics firm Crimson Hexagon following concerns that the company has misused data. The decision was made after the Wall Street Journal reported that the company has contracts with government agencies and “a Russian nonprofit with ties to the Kremlin.”
Back in March 2017, Facebook banned the use of data to develop surveillance tools. It’s this ruling for which Crimson Hexagon are being investigated.
A Facebook spokesperson, speaking to CNN Money on Friday, said:
“We don’t allow developers to build surveillance tools using information from Facebook or Instagram… We take these allegations seriously, and we have suspended these apps while we investigate.”
Crimson Hexagon CTO responds with a blog post
Crimson Hexagon hasn’t explicitly responded to their suspension, but CTO Chris Bingham did write a blog post: “Understanding the Role of Public Online Data in Society.” He writes that “the real conversation is not about a particular social media analytics provider, or even a particular social network like Facebook. It is about the broader role and use of public online data in the modern world.”
Although the investigation is ongoing it’s worth noting, as TechCrunch has, that Crimson Hexagon isn’t quite as opaque in its relationships and operations as Cambridge Analytica. They have, for example, done data analytics projects for the likes of Adidas, the BBC, and Samsung.