Hannah Kuchler, Financial Times (this article may be behind a paywall):
Facebook has suspended Crimson Hexagon, as it investigates if the analytics firm violated any of the social network’s policies, including whether it harvested user data to build surveillance tools.
The social network said it does not yet have any evidence that the Boston-based company obtained Facebook or Instagram data improperly. Crimson Hexagon could not be reached for comment.
Crimson Hexagon describes itself as an artificial intelligence-powered consumer insights company for brand managers, marketers and executives. The company says it has the world’s largest library of public social data, including over one trillion posts.
Even though these are entirely public posts, it’s disconcerting to think that our offhand remarks and pictures of meals are seen as widgets to be collected by a creepy company to be resold as fodder for advertisers and marketers. Facebook users are already granting permission for Facebook to mine their online life in service of advertisers, of course, but this is a third-party company with whom data is not explicitly being shared for this purpose. I completely understand that public is public, and this information can be used this way legally and ethically. It’s still gross to think that the entire web is seen by companies like these solely as material to target ads.