The suspension was prompted by concerns over the analytics company’s ties to Russia.
Social media giant Facebook has suspended social media analytics firm Crimson Hexagon over concerns about the company’s federal contracts and ties to Russia. Facebook continues to investigate a possible violation of its anti-surveillance policy.
Facebook suspended the company’s access to both Facebook and Instagram last week following a Wall Street Journal article detailing Crimson’s ties to the Kremlin, Turkish government, and their contracts within US government agencies.
Crimson Hexagon uses artificial intelligence (AI) to gain insights from data collected from social media. The company provides its customers with information and consumer feedback about their brands. It says it has collected over a trillion public posts from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumbler and other social media sources.
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Enforcing Anti-surveillance Policies
Although Facebook banned developers from using public user data for surveillance in 2017, the company did not provide a detailed explanation of its anti-surveillance policy. A year later, it still hasn’t elaborated.
“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,” says a Facebook spokesman. “Based on our investigation to date, Crimson Hexagon did not obtain any Facebook or Instagram information inappropriately.”
While Crimson Analytics has yet to address allegations about its Russian and Turkish connections, publicly available information shows the company has contracted with:
- The US Army
- US Secret Service
- The State Department
“Crimson Hexagon is fully cooperating with Facebook who has publicly stated its investigation to date has found no wrongdoing,” says company CTO Chris Bingham. “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.”