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Facebook suspends app tied to researcher running election study

After the Cambridge Analytica Scandal, Facebook now has suspended apps by Crimson Hexagon, a company founded by a Harvard University researcher who has a close relationship with the social network.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the social media giant was investing whether the analytics firm’s contracts with the US government and Russian non-profit organization tied to the Kremlin and the Turkish government. According to its website, the company is also working with Adidas AG, General Mills Inc, and Anheuser-Busch InBev SA.

Ime Archibong, Facebook’s Vice President of Product Partnership said in his statement –

“We are investigating the claims about Crimson Hexagon to see if they violated any of our policies.”

The company was co-founded by Harvard Professor Gary King in 2007. He is leading Facebook’s independent research initiative called “Social Science One”. This initiative is focused on preventing the election interference. Facebook said that it has no information about the private contractors of its developers, but it’s against the policy of those developers to build surveillance tools using information gleaned from Facebook.

Crimson Hexagon’s Chief Technology Officer Chris Bingham stated in his blog post

“We do not collect private data from social media providers or anyone else. Crimson Hexagon only allows government customers to use the platform for specific approved use cases; and under no circumstances is surveillance a permitted use case.”

According to Crimson Hexagon, it uses technologies including Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help clients get insights and shape marketing campaigns and develop new products. In April 2018, Facebook also warned investors that more users’ data scandals in the future may adversely affect the social networking giant’s reputation and brand image. Facebook also mentioned in its quarterly report that its ongoing investments in safety, security and content review will identify additional instances of misuse of users’ data.

Appearing before the US Congress, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told the lawmakers that his own personal data was part of 87 million users’ that was ‘improperly shared’ with the British political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica.

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