Instagram Account Leaks: Private Data Linked to Millions of Influencers, Celebrities and Brands Exposed - Infire Tech & Trends - Technology, Entertainment, Arts and Crafts by Infire Media

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Instagram Account Leaks: Private Data Linked to Millions of Influencers, Celebrities and Brands Exposed

Instagram Account Leaks: Private Data Linked to Millions of Influencers, Celebrities and Brands Exposed

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Instagram has launched an investigation after a database containing private data linked to millions of accounts was allegedly exposed online without a password.

TechCrunch first reported the trove of information had been collected by a company based in India called Chtrbox. Some leaked details included private contact information of influencers and celebrities, alongside public data scraped from profiles such as images and bios.

In a statement today, a spokesperson at the Facebook-owned app, said: “We are investigating whether a third party improperly stored Instagram data, in violation of our policies.

“It's also not clear whether the phone numbers and emails in Chtrbox's database came from Instagram. 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.”

The exposed database, holding more than 49 million records, was discovered by a security researcher called Anurag Sen. It was not immediately clear how long it had been left unprotected. It has since been taken offline and is no longer accessible, TechCrunch reported.

According to its website, Chtrbox connects brands with influencers. It claims to have worked with big-name companies including Nike, Nokia, Ray Ban, HP, Puma, and Tropicana.

Chtrbox says it uses an “influencer base” for content creation, social media shout-outs, products reviews and launch events. The system matches the objectives of a brand’s campaign to the right influencers. Creators then share the campaign with their followers—driving sales.

“We help you access the growing network of emerging and established influencers—Digital Celebs, YouTubers, Instagrammers, Twitteratis, Bloggers, Snapchatters, Thought Leaders, Socializers, Mom influencers, Campus Influencers—you name it!” a description reads.

Indeed, some of the records in the exposed database were seemingly highlighting the “worth” of an Instagram user’s account based on follower engagement, TechCrunch reported.

Interestingly, some of the victims identified by the outlet claimed to have no involvement with Chtrbox. It was not yet clear how Chtrbox had obtained their personal contact details. Per the Instagram statement, it is possible data was obtained from a third party.

Chtrbox did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Instagram boasts more than one billion monthly active users. Mass scraping of data from public accounts would be a violation of Instagram policy.

A page outlining the photo-sharing app's terms of service includes the warning: “You can't attempt to create accounts or access or collect information in unauthorized ways. This includes creating accounts or collecting information in an automated way without our express permission.”

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