Facebook suspends analytics firm to investigate data use: report

Facebook suspends analytics firm to investigate data use: report
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Facebook has suspended a Boston-based analytics firm as the company probes the types of data the firm harvested from the platform and whether its contracts with the U.S. government and a nonprofit tied to Russia's government violate company policies.

Representatives for Facebook told The Wall Street Journal on Friday that the company was previously unaware of some of the contracts held by the firm. The firm, Crimson Hexagon, advertises itself as the holder of more than one trillion social media posts scraped from Facebook and other social media sites.

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“Facebook has a responsibility to help protect people’s information, which is one of the reasons why we have tightened” access to users' personal information, Facebook's vice president for partnerships Ime Archibong told the Journal. He added that the company allows firms like Crimson Hexagon to produce “anonymized insights for business purposes.”

A separate spokesman for the company told the Journal that “based on our investigation to date, Crimson Hexagon did not obtain any Facebook or Instagram information inappropriately.”

Crimson Hexagon's Chief Technology Officer Chris Bingham told the Journal that his company does not collect private information, adding that they are “working together to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.”

The two companies plan to meet in the upcoming days.

U.S. government agencies paid Crimson Hexagon more than $800,000 for 22 separate contracts in the past four years, according to the Journal. The company has also worked with companies based in foreign countries including Russia and Turkey, the Journal reported.

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. The firm worked with the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, though it says it did not use the collected data during that time.