A man poses with a magnifier in front of a Facebook logo on display. File Picture: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC
A man poses with a magnifier in front of a Facebook logo on display. File Picture: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC

New York — Facebook has suspended another data firm after allegations surfaced that it may have improperly handled users’ information.

The social media giant said on Monday it had suspended Cubeyou pending an investigation. CNBC reported the data-analytics company was misleading users by saying information it collected through quizzes was for academic research, even though it was in fact being shared with marketers.

"These are serious claims and we have suspended Cubeyou from Facebook while we investigate them," said Ime Archibong, vice-president of product partnerships at Menlo Park, California-based Facebook, in an e-mailed statement. "If they refuse or fail our audit, their apps will be banned from Facebook."

CEO Mark Zuckerberg is expected to testify before US Congress this week, as legislators seek answers about users’ privacy on the site. Facebook has lost billions in market value since a whistle-blower revealed last month that political firm Cambridge Analytica was misusing consumers’ data.

Last week, Facebook said that as many as 87-million users may have been affected by the Cambridge Analytica case. According to a separate report, up to 60,000 South Africans may be affected.

Facebook reached the decision to suspend Cubeyou after CNBC contacted the company with the allegations. CNBC reported the suspension earlier on Sunday.

"Our apps and activity on Facebook have been subject to regular audits and reviews with the company," Cubeyou said on Monday. "All our Facebook apps have always complied with Facebook’s data policy and rules. We stand ready to answer any questions Facebook has as they review this matter."

Cubeyou’s website says it has more than 10-million "panelists" contributing consumer opinions, interests and traits throughout the US and that it was used by more than 1,500 marketers. The company, whose press releases have said it’s based in San Francisco with offices in Milan, said it doesn’t target, advertise or contact individuals with marketing messages.