Facebook has suspended another data analytics firm over worries it might have improperly handled users' data.
In a blog posting, Crimson Hexagon Chief Technology Officer Chris Bingham said the company "abides completely" by the rules social media sites including Twitter and Facebook put in place to limit the ways third-party companies can use their data. Facebook was responding to an inquiry from the Wall Street Journal, which reported that Crimson Hexagon had deals to analyze Facebook data for clients including several US governmental agencies and a Russian organization with Kremlin ties.
The Wall Street Journal first reported that Facebook had suspended Crimson Hexagon and says among the firm's clients is a Russian non-profit with ties to the Kremlin. The defunct political consulting firm, which worked for Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, gathered data on tens of millions of Facebook users.
Bingham contrasted that with Cambridge Analytica's use of private user data.More news: Watch Carter Page Try and Defend Himself After Release of FISA Warrant
He added: "We need to really take the oversight of these organisations seriously and they should not be at the table".
A spokeswoman for King referred questions to Crimson Hexagon and provided a statement in which King, who is also the chairman of the company's board, said he "never had line authority or day-to-day involvement" in its operations.
"We don't allow developers to build surveillance tools using information from Facebook or Instagram", said Facebook in a statement, the Guardian reports.
"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", he writes.More news: Iran's Rouhani warns Trump 'war with Iran mother of all wars'
The eye-popping red flag against the Boston-based analytics firm might be its claim that it can supply "instant access to over one trillion consumer conversations from social media, forums, blogs, reviews and more". He noted that the Facebook data accessed by Cambridge Analytica was private. People can share their information with developers on Facebook and Instagram - just as they can when they download an app on their phone.
"For example, there are special sensitivities about how government agencies can use online public data, even though that same data is freely accessible by others", he wrote.
According to Crimson Hexagon's website, customers include Paramount Pictures, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Adidas, General Mills, General Motors and Twitter. "Facebook has a responsibility to help protect people's information which is one of the reasons why we have tightened our APIs significantly over the last few years".
The two companies plan to meet in the upcoming days.More news: Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter team up for Data Transfer Project
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.