Data analytics company CubeYou has been banned from Facebook, having been issued an indefinite suspension after CNBC discovered the firm harvested data in a manner reminiscent of the practices employed by Cambridge Analytica, the American political consulting firm at the center of the social media giant's ongoing privacy scandal. CubeYou is the third company to be suspended by Facebook over privacy concerns in a span of just several days, with the last firm to receive the same treatment being AggregateIQ from Canada. CubeYou's business model revolves around harvesting user data through various apps that users can access via social network logins such as their Facebook and Twitter profiles. The information is then sold to advertisers seeking to target social media users in a more accurate manner, according to the company's own website.
The majority of CubeYou's data-harvesting apps appear to have been delivered in the form of online quizzes, some of which have been falsely labeled as being designed for the purpose of "non-profit academic research," CNBC claims. The app that harvested data of up to 87 million Facebook users and whose author ended up providing that information to Cambridge Analytica also claimed the information it collects is meant to be used for academic purposes. CubeYou collaborated with Cambridge University's Psychometrics Lab on some projects, with both now being investigated by Facebook. If the firm fails its audit, its temporary suspension will be turned into a permanent ban, Facebook Product Partnerships VP Ime Archibong said.
In a statement provided to CNBC, CubeYou CEO Federico Treu denied profiting from one of the firm's most popular apps titled "You Are What You Like" and deceiving users, having said that the ownership of the quiz changed in mid-2015. The company that's now being audited by Facebook previously boasted about being capable of building psychographic profiles and classify consumers based on their data. Similar claims were previously made by Cambridge Analytica, though the firm denied ever using the data it improperly harvested in 2014 for such purposes. Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is set to testify in front of Congress over the company's recent controversies this Wednesday, April 11.