Instagram Security Flaw Allowed Marketing Firm Collect Users' Personal Data

Instagram Security Flaw Allowed Marketing Firm Collect Users' Personal Data”

Following a shocking expose from Business Insider, major Instagram ad partner Hyp3r has been banned by the platform for tracking millions of users' locations, saving public Instagram Stories, and automatically scraping user data.

Hyp3r collected the data stored in Instagram Stories which are created to disappear within 24 hours unless archived by the user. The company publicly praised Instagram's decision to protect its users' privacy, releasing a statement that said Hyp3r, "understand [s] and welcome [s] the changes that Facebook is making to protect the privacy of all of us", but according to Business Insider's sources, the marketing firm immediately got to work bypassing these restrictions behind the scenes.

It emphasised the data Hyp3r grabbed was all public information.

The Irish Data Protection Commission said on Wednesday that it is "working to establish" whether European Union citizens have been affected by the data scraping, which was first revealed in a Business Insider investigation published Wednesday. Sata scraping is widespread, and it is likely that many other outside firms were similarly taking advantage of Instagram's lax efforts to safeguard user data. "We've also made a product change that should help prevent other companies from scraping public location pages in this way". The company told Business Insider that "HYP3R's actions were not sanctioned and violate our policies. As a result, we've removed them from our platform", the spokesperson said.

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The response from the marketing firm: "Hyp3r is, and has always been, a company that enables authentic, delightful marketing that is compliant with consumer privacy regulations and social network Terms of Services".

Early this year it was also revealed that influencers, celebrities and brands contact info was also being scraped and Facebook is yet to tighten up the privacy it should offer its users on Instagram especially regarding what user data third-party partners can have access to using Instagram's API. "We are working to establish whether European Union data subjects have been affected in the first instance and will then assess whether further information from Instagram is required". "But if the information is online and publicly accessible, law officials can sometimes overlook the practice".

Hyp3r didn't scoop up any private info but the data it had gathered allowed the company to construct profiles of Insta users that it wasn't supposed to have.

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