Facebook suspends Crimson Hexagon over data misuse concerns

FacebookFacebook has temporarily suspended another data analytics firm as it investigates whether some of the company’s contracts may have violated data-sharing policies.

Boston-based company Crimson Hexagon has contracts with various government agencies around the world but a selection of these may have breached Facebook’s policies on surveillance, according to the Wall Street Journal. In particular, Facebook is reviewing contracts to analyse public data for clients which include multiple US government agencies and a Russian non-profit with links to the Kremlin.

Facebook has said that there is no evidence to suggest that Crimson Hexagon gained any information inappropriately and Crimson Hexagon itself says it “only collects publicly available social media data that anyone can access”. Thus, the issue surrounding the data shared with these agencies isn’t down to the data shared itself but whether said data was used to create tools for surveillance.

“Crimson Hexagon only allows government customers to use the platform for specific approved use cases; and under no circumstances is surveillance a permitted use case,” said Chris Bingham, Crimson Hexagon CTO, in a blog post. “The most common use cases are large scale public opinion research and measuring the success of their communication efforts. Each potential government customer must contractually commit, in writing, to the use cases that they will be utilising the platform for in their agreements.”