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Facebook suspends data analytics firm CubeYou amid scandal

The social networking giant makes its third high-profile move against a data analytics company, just weeks after cutting off Cambridge Analytica.

Daniel Leal-olivas / AFP/Getty Images

Facebook has suspended another data analysis firm for violating its policies in the wake of a scandal that alleges millions of users' personal information was misused.

Data analytics firm CubeYou, which collected information about users through personality quizzes, was suspended Sunday for misleadingly labeling its product as "for non-profit academic research" and then sharing the information with marketers, Facebook said, confirming a report by CNBC.

"These are serious claims and we have suspended CubeYou from Facebook while we investigate them. If they refuse or fail our audit, their apps will be banned from Facebook," Ime Archibong, Facebook vice president of product partnerships, said in a statement that thanked CNBC for bringing the matter to the social networking giant's attention.

The suspension -- the second Facebook has made in recent days -- comes three weeks after Facebook banned Cambridge Analytica, a UK-based political data analysis firm the social network said improperly received as many as 87 million user profiles leaked from its service. On Friday, Facebook suspended AggregateIQ, a Canadian advertising and analysis firm.

"In addition, we will work with the UK ICO [Information Commissioner's Office] to ask the University of Cambridge about the development of apps in general by its Psychometrics Centre given this case and the misuse by Kogan," Archibong said, referring to Cambridge lecturer Aleksandr Kogan.

Facebook has accused Kogan of collecting the data legitimately through a personality quiz app but then violating Facebook's terms by sharing the information with Cambridge Analytica, a firm hired by the Trump presidential campaign during the 2016 US election.

Cambridge Analytica, for its part, has said through a series of statements that the allegations against it are incorrect and that it acted appropriately.

The move marks the latest in a series of efforts by the social networking giant amid revelations that it had lost control of the profile information of millions of users, which was then used to potentially influence elections around the world. The widening scandal has led privacy advocates and users alike to call for legislators and regulators to hold Facebook accountable for what happened. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's co-founder and CEO, said he now realizes he was overly optimistic and didn't foresee malicious companies misusing its service in this way.

Facebook said it's auditing records in an effort to find any other companies that may have taken advantage of its service. 

"As we find more Cambridge Analyticas, we're going to find a comprehensive way to put them out and make sure people see them," Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg told BuzzFeed in an interview published Thursday, referring to efforts to publicize problems.

Facebook's move against CubeYou comes just a few days before Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify at hearings on Capitol Hill, where legislators in the Senate and House of Representatives will question him on the widening scandal.

Redwood City, California-based CubeYou didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cambridge Analytica: Everything you need to know about Facebook's data mining scandal.

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