Russia tells Facebook to localize user data or be blocked

FILE PHOTO: A 3D model of the Facebook logo is seen in front of a Russian flag in this photo illustration taken in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, May 22, 2015. (REUTERS)
Updated 26 September 2017
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Russia tells Facebook to localize user data or be blocked

MOSCOW: Russia will block access to Facebook next year unless the social network complies with a law that requires websites which store the personal data of Russian citizens to do so on Russian servers, Russian news agencies reported on Tuesday.
The threat was made by Russia’s communications watchdog Roskomnadzor, agencies said, the organization which blocked access to LinkedIn’s website last November in order to comply with a court ruling that found the social networking firm guilty of violating the same data storage law.
That case set a precedent for the way foreign Internet firms operate in Russia and other companies are now under pressure from the regulator to comply with the law, which was approved by President Vladimir Putin in 2014 and entered into force in September 2015.
“Everyone needs to abide by the law,” the Interfax news agency cited Roskomnadzor head Alexander Zharov as telling reporters on Tuesday. “In 2018, everything will be as it should be for sure,” he said, referring to Facebook.
“In any case, we will either get the law implemented or the company will cease to work on the territory of the Russian Federation as unfortunately happened to LinkedIn. There can’t be any exceptions here.”
Twitter Inc. had already notified Roskomnadzor that it would aim to localize the personal data of its users by the middle of 2018, Zharov said.
“We understand clearly that Facebook has a significant number of users on the territory of the Russian Federation,” Zharov was cited as saying. “On the other hand, we understand that this is not a unique service, and that there are other social media.”
Asked to comment on the regulator’s demands for Facebook to localize the data of its Russian users, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the US firm had to comply with the law like everyone else.


Facebook suspends Boston analytics firm over data usage

In this Oct. 15, 2013, file photo, Chuck Goolsbee, site director for Facebook's Prineville data centers, shows the computer servers that store users' photos and other data, at the Facebook site in Prineville, Ore. (AP)
Updated 21 July 2018
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Facebook suspends Boston analytics firm over data usage

  • Facebook said Friday that Crimson Hexagon is cooperating and that so far its investigation hasn’t found evidence that the firm obtained Facebook or Instagram information inappropriately

NEW YORK: Facebook said Friday that it has suspended Boston-based analytics firm Crimson Hexagon while it investigates how it collects and shares Facebook and Instagram’s user data.
Facebook has been facing increased scrutiny over how third-party firms use its data since news broke in March that data firm Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed user data.
The Wall Street Journal first reported that Facebook had suspended Crimson Hexagon. The newspaper says among the firm’s clients is a Russian nonprofit with ties to the Kremlin.
“We don’t allow developers to build surveillance tools using information from Facebook or Instagram,” said Ime Archibong, Facebook’s vice president of product partnerships. “We take these allegations seriously, and we have suspended these apps while we investigate.”
Facebook said Friday that Crimson Hexagon is cooperating and that so far its investigation hasn’t found evidence that the firm obtained Facebook or Instagram information inappropriately.
Crimson Hexagon says on its website it has access to over one trillion consumer conversations from social media, forums, blogs and reviews.
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.
He said the firm only collects publicly available social media data. He contrasted that with Cambridge Analytica’s use of private user data.
Users of Crimson Hexagon’s platform, which include government customers, analyze the data to understand large-scale consumer trends and preferences, Bingham wrote.
“Government entities that leverage the Crimson Hexagon platform do so for the same reasons as many of our other non-government customers: a broad-based and aggregate understanding of the public’s perception, preferences and sentiment about matters of concern to them,” he wrote.