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Facebook suspends Crimson Hexagon over alleged data sharing violations

Facebook investigates analytics firm Crimson Hexagon after questions of data impropriety surface. / Tim Bennett via Unsplash

Facebook today (July 20) announced the suspension of Boston-based analytics firm Crimson Hexagon as it investigates a reported breach of a data-sharing policies.

According to a Wall Street Journal story, Crimson Hexagon had secured contracts with Russian nonprofits with alleged ties to the Kremlin. In a request for comment from Facebook, the social network decided to suspend the company's access to Instagram and Facebook and launch an investigation into any improprieties.

Crimson Hexagon has claimed to have one of the largest databases of public social media posts in the data space, totaling over a trillion posts in 2016. On its site, the firm cited its roots in politics, as its founder had created an algorithm that, among other uses, had helped uncover which way people would vote in the 2008 presidential election

A statement from Facebook vice president of product partnerships, Ime Archibong said that while the company has allowed outside parties to access "anonymized insights for business purposes", it has "tightened" access to user data.

Data issues and Facebook have been hand-in-hand on news headlines in the past year, with the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica involvement with the 2016 elections still casting shadows across the company, the marketing space (especially post-GDPR) and in political spheres.

The Drum has reached out to Crimson Hexagon for comment.

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