Instagram says investigating data breach that affected 49 million influencer profiles

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Published: May 21, 2019 7:55:51 PM

Reports suggest that the database hosted on Amazon Web Services - which had over 49 million records - containing information of millions of Instagram influencers, celebrities and brand accounts - was found online.

(Representative image)

Online photo-sharing platform Instagram said Tuesday it is investigating whether a third party improperly stored its user data, in violation of its policies, amid reports of information of millions of users being available online allegedly in an unsecured database.

Reports suggest that the database hosted on Amazon Web Services – which had over 49 million records – containing information of millions of Instagram influencers, celebrities and brand accounts – was found online. The database was allegedly traced back to Mumbai-based social media marketing firm Chtrbox.

“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,” an Instagram spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

The spokesperson further stated that “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”.

Emails sent to Chtrbox did not elicit a response.

On its website, Chtrbox says over “52 leading brands and their agencies leverage its influencer network across the marketing cycle – for research, sampling, content creation and distribution, driving engagement and conversions, at scale”.

According to reports, apart from public data (like bio, profile picture and number of followers), the database also allegedly contained users’ private contact information such as email address and phone number.

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