Facebook Suspends Kremlin-Tied Data Firm Crimson Hexagon

Firm had government contracts Facebook was unaware of, according to The Wall Street Journal

Last Updated: July 20, 2018 @ 11:46 AM

Facebook has temporarily suspended data analytics firm Crimson Hexagon on Friday as it investigates whether the company violated its data sharing policy — only months after the company was rocked by the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The suspension follows a Wall Street Journal report that showed Crimson Hexagon had contracts to analyze data for several U.S. government agencies, as well as a Russian non-profit with ties to the Kremlin. Facebook told the Journal it was not aware of some of the firm’s contracts. The Boston-based firm has an archive of more than one trillion social media posts, making it the largest repository in the world, according to the Journal.

“Facebook has a responsibility to help protect people’s information, which is one of the reasons why we have tightened [data access],” Ime Archibong, Facebook vice president for product partnerships, said in a statement to TheWrap.

“Crimson Hexagon is fully cooperating with Facebook who has publicly stated its investigation to date has found no wrongdoing,” Chris Bingham, Crimson Hexagon’s chief technology officer, said in a statement to TheWrap.

The firm didn’t inappropriately obtain any Facebook or Instagram user data, according to Facebook’s investigation so far, a company spokesperson told TheWrap. Crimson Hexagon is cooperating with the social network’s investigation, the spokesperson added. Facebook forbids developers from using its data for surveillance.

The potential misuse of data comes after Cambridge Analytica data leak was revealed earlier this year, where up to 87 million users had their profiles unwittingly accessed.

Wall Street didn’t appear concerned with another potential misuse of data. Shares of Facebook trading were up about one percent on Friday to $210.15 a share.