After Cambridge Analytica, Facebook Suspends Crimson Hexagon Analytics Firm

Facebook has faced intense criticism as 50 million users had been harvested and passed on to political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica. Facebook lost nearly $50 billion in market cap since the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

After this scandal Facebook is in a strict mood. Facebook not only banned Cambridge Analytica but also eliminated third-party data ad targeting. Recently company also build strong privacy tools and allow users to control, download, delete and opt out of sharing data.

After Cambridge Analytica, now Facebook has suspended another company that harvested data from its site. Facebook has suspended a Crimson Hexagon from both Facebook and Instagram. The social networking giant said that they had not found any evidence so far that data had been improperly obtained. We are investigating whether the analytics firm’s contracts with the U.S. government and a Russian nonprofit tied to the Kremlin, Facebook added.

Crimson Hexagon is a Boston-based analytics firm. Crimson Hexagon is founded by Dr Gary King, a Harvard professor and the director of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science. Crimson Hexagon describes itself as an artificial intelligence-powered consumer insights company, which work for brand managers, marketers and executives. The company says it has the world’s largest library of public social data, including over one trillion posts.

On its website, Crimson Hexagon claims that it can provide “instant access to over one trillion consumer conversations from social media, forums, blogs, reviews and more.” There apps pull public user data from social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram and keep a eye on user activity to aggregate insights into consumer behavior.

It would, later on used it for advertise and for different companies. Anheuser-Busch InBev, the brewer, the BBC, Walmart. and Twitter also works with Crimson Hexagon to analyse its own data. 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.

It was Wall Street Journal  who first reports that Crimson Hexagon had contracts with a Russian non-profit organisation, allegedly with ties to the Kremlin, and many US government agencies.  Wall Street Journal asked Facebook does they have any idea on how this firm uses the user data and does this firm has contracts with both US government agencies and a Russian nonprofit group with connections to the Kremlin

In response to Wall Street Journal  questions, Facebook told Wall Street Journal  that it wasn’t aware of some of Crimson Hexagon’s contracts but said today that it would suspend its apps while it investigates further.

Ime Archibong, Facebook’s VP of product partnerships, releases a statement — “We are investigating the claims about Crimson Hexagon to see if they violated any of our policies,”

“People can share their information with developers on Facebook and Instagram — just as they can when they download an app on their phone. We also have APIs so that developers can use public or aggregated information to produce anonymised insights for business purposes.” he added.

However, Crimson Hexagon has been strong opposing the claims of Wall Street Journal. Company has recently releases a fresh statement– What Cambridge Analytica did was explicitly illegal, while the collection of public data is completely legal and sanctioned by the data providers that Crimson engages with, including Twitter and Facebook, among others.

In a blog entry posted by the firm on Friday, Crimson Hexagon chief technology officer Chris Bingham defended the company’s work. He said “Crimson Hexagon only collects publicly available social media data that anyone can access,” he wrote, seeking to distance his firm from Cambridge Analytica, the firm which allegedly used an app to scrape private data from the network.

“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.” Mr Bingham added.

Facebook team is investigation Crimson Hexagon and it’s working methods. Suspension of Crimson is temporary, but if Facebook found any illegal activities then future of Crimson Hexagon is in dark and of Facebook also.

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