San Francisco-based marketing firm Hyp3r, that Instagram had labelled as one of its preferred “Facebook Marketing Partners,” is found to have been secretly saving millions of Instagram users’ stories and tracking their locations, Business Insider is reporting.
What is believed to be “a combination of configuration errors and lax oversight by Instagram” highlights how Facebook is still struggling to protect users’ data and oversee developers accessing its platform.
The publication notes that Hyp3r created detailed records of users’ physical whereabouts, personal bios, and photos that were intended to vanish after 24 hours. The profiles, which were scraped and stitched together by the marketing firm, were a clear violation of Instagram’s rules.
Instagram finally sent Hyp3r a cease-and-desist letter earlier this week after being presented with Business Insider’s findings and confirmed that the startup broke its rules.
“HYP3R’s actions were not sanctioned and violate our policies. As a result, we’ve removed them from our platform. We’ve also made a product change that should help prevent other companies from scraping public location pages in this way,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Hyp3r has denied breaking Instagram’s rules while arguing that accessing public data on Instagram in this way is legitimate and justifiable. You can read more about it at the source page.