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Instagram Leaks Influencer Data

It was discovered that the Mumbai-based social media marketing firm Chtrbox leaked the private information of 49 million Instagram users recently. Chtrbox is a firm that hires social media influencers to promote products to their followers. The database seems to have been used to decide payments to “influencers” depending on the number of followers, shares of posts, and likes. It was available for the whole world to see on site hosted by Amazon web services and did not require a password for access. Public information such as Instagram profile picture and bio were combined with private information such as location and contact numbers for the 49 million affected users. Some celebrities who have no ties to Chtrbox also had their private contact information revealed. While Facebook, who owns Instagram, has made clear that the mistake was made by a third party there was not much of an explanation on how this will be prevented in the future. Their spokesperson stated “We’re looking into the issue to understand if the data described – including email and phone numbers – was from Instagram or from other sources. We’re also inquiring with Chtrbox to understand where this data came from and how it became publicly available. Regardless, the possibility of third parties mishandling user data is something we take seriously, which is why we’re quickly working to understand what happened.” Even though social media influencers are just really fabulous infomercial personalities the mishandling of private information in a company owned by Facebook is concerning. Hopefully, a clear statement of how the company will safeguard against similar issues in the future will be coming soon from the folks at Facebook.  

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