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A hot potato: In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has become hyper-vigilant toward apps that may misuse data scraped from its users. It seems to have adopted a suspend-first-ask-questions-later policy with suspicious applications.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the social media titan has suspended Crimson Hexagon from both Facebook and Instagram while it looks into its data collection practices. It has not found any evidence that the company has misappropriated any user data. However, Facebook is looking into whether the company has violated any of its policies regarding the collection, sharing, and storage of user data.
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."
"We don't allow developers to build surveillance tools using information from Facebook or Instagram."
The company has ties to the US and Russian governments amongst its numerous contracts. Facebook told the WSJ that it was unaware of any of Crimson Hexagon's business dealings at this point, but said that it would be suspending its apps starting today while it conducts an investigation.
"We don't allow developers to build surveillance tools using information from Facebook or Instagram," Ime Archibong, Facebook's VP of product partnerships, said in a statement to Engadget. "We take these allegations seriously, and we have suspended these apps while we investigate."
In light of all the headaches that Cambridge Analytica brought to the social media leader, it is little surprise that it is now extra careful with third-party apps, especially those connected to analytics companies.
"We are investigating the claims about Crimson Hexagon to see if they violated any of our policies. People can share their information with developers on Facebook and Instagram – just as they can when they download an app on their phone. We also have APIs so that developers can use public or aggregated information to produce anonymized insights for business purposes. 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."
Archibong said that Crimson Hexagon is fully cooperating with Facebook's investigation and will be meeting with staff as the probe moves forward.