Facebook suspends analytics firm over data usage

NEW YORK - Facebook says 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.

Facebook said Friday that so far its investigation hasn't found evidence that Crimson Hexagon obtained Facebook or Instagram information inappropriately.

"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," Ime Archibong, Facebook's vice president of product partnerships, said in a statement.

Crimson Hexagon says on its website it has access to over 1 trillion consumer conversations from social media, forums, blogs and reviews. The company's customers include Adidas, BBC, General Motors, Samsung and Twitter and Walmart. It did not respond to a request for comment.

"Crimson Hexagon is fully cooperating with Facebook, who has publicly stated its investigation to date has found no wrongdoing," Chris Bingham, chief technology officer at Crimson Hexagon, said in a statement. 

In a blog post, Bingham noted that the firm doesn't collect private social media data and only gathers publicly available information. Private data includes social media posts and profile info from private social media accounts, according to Crimson Hexagon. 

"This is private online data that Crimson Hexagon has never collected, and has no ability to collect," he wrote.