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
0

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.


Facebook, Twitter remove pages promoting Russian and Iranian propaganda

A woman displays photos of US President Donald Trump as she follows the news on her mobile phone in Tehran, Iran, in this October 13, 2017 file photo. (Reuters)
Updated 22 August 2018
0

Facebook, Twitter remove pages promoting Russian and Iranian propaganda

  • The account removals comes weeks after Facebook took down accounts originating in Russia for engaging in deceiving behavior
  • Twitter called the effort “coordinated manipulation”

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. said on Tuesday that they each removed about 300 accounts, mostly originating in Iran, that were found to be engaged in coordinated “inauthentic behavior.”
The social media companies acted on a tip from cybersecurity firm FireEye Inc, which said on Tuesday that the accounts were promoting Iranian propaganda, including discussion of “anti-Saudi, anti-Israeli and pro-Palestinian themes.”
“We’ve removed 652 Pages, groups and accounts for coordinated inauthentic behavior that originated in Iran and targeted people across multiple Internet services in the Middle East, Latin America, UK and US,” Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity policy at Facebook, said in a blog post.
Twitter called the effort “coordinated manipulation.”
The influence effort, as FireEye described it, began last year and continued through this month, the company said in a blog post.
“However, it is important to note that the activity does not appear to have been specifically designed to influence the 2018 US midterm elections, as it extends well beyond US audiences and US politics,” FireEye said.
The account removals comes weeks after Facebook took down accounts originating in Russia for engaging in deceiving behavior. The company said on Tuesday that it found additional inauthentic behavior tied to Russia, but that the activity does not appear linked to the campaign tied to Iran.